MONTREAL -- The ICU team at Ste-Justine Hospital in Montreal has been training with doctors and nurses who work in nearby adult ICUs as they prepare to treat adult COVID-19 patients. 

The pediatric hospital will have six beds in the intensive care unit to treat patients under 40 years old who do not have any chronic illnesses. 

Trauma patients under 30 years old will be admitted as well.

Lydia Tania Ziani, a nurse educator in the hospital’s pediatric ICU, said since there was a call for help from colleagues in and outside of Montreal, they’ve been trying to help the best way they can. 

“So during the first wave, we sent some nurses, some doctors, some physiotherapists to help in long-term care facilities. So that was our help that we could give in the first wave. Now [the] second wave is hitting [and] we've sent a lot of nurses in other ICUs throughout the province," she said. "We did send a lot of nurses to go to vaccination clinics throughout the island, but our help is also needed elsewhere… since we have the ICU specialty it's easier for us to take patients than to go to another facility."

Getting ready to treat adults in a children’s hospital has required special attention to the smallest of details; from making sure there are enough intubation and nasogastric tubes in the right sizes, to adults size beds in place of cribs.

Ziani added it’s been a big challenge, “but it's a beautiful one and it's one that needs to be done right now. It's our professional duty to do that.” 

The six beds are empty at this time, but they are a critical solution to the province’s COVID-19 response if cases begin to climb once again.