Whereas 5415 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds were initially available, 7148 COVID-19 patients were hospitalised in the ICU at the peak of the outbreak. The present study reports how the French Health Care system created temporary ICU beds to avoid being overwhelmed.
All French ICUs were contacted for answering a questionnaire focusing on the available beds and health care providers before and during the outbreak.
Among 336 institutions with ICUs before the outbreak, 315 (94%) participated, covering 5054/5531 (91%) ICU beds. During the outbreak, 4806 new ICU beds (+95% increase) were created from Acute Care Unit (ACU, 2283), Post Anaesthetic Care Unit and Operating Theatre (PACU & OT, 1522), other units (374) or real build-up of new ICU beds (627), respectively. At the peak of the outbreak, 9860, 1982 and 3089 ICU, ACU and PACU beds were made available.
Before the outbreak, 3548 physicians (2224 critical care anaesthesiologists, 898 intensivists and 275 from other specialties, 151 paediatrics), 1785 residents, 11,023 nurses and 6763 nursing auxiliaries worked in established ICUs. During the outbreak, 2524 physicians, 715 residents, 7722 nurses and 3043 nursing auxiliaries supplemented the usual staff in all ICUs. A total number of 3212 new ventilators were added to the 5997 initially available in ICU.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, the French Health Care system created 4806 ICU beds (+95% increase from baseline), essentially by transforming beds from ACUs and PACUs. Collaboration between intensivists, critical care anaesthesiologists, emergency physicians as well as the mobilisation of nursing staff were primordial in this context.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : COVID-19, France, ICU, Bed availability