Across the country, the holiday season is a very busy time in Hospital Emergency Departments with longer than normal wait times. This is often due to the combination of influenza season and limited holiday hours among health care partners.
Julia Oosterman, chief of Communications & Public Affairs at Bluewater Health, talks about the importance of determining what is truly an emergency and that starts with someone who is facing that choice.
Bluewater Health is recommending taking several steps to help stay healthy and out of the Emergency Department this holiday season. They include:
- Checking your family doctor’s office hours of operation
- Knowing where your nearby walk-in clinics are
- Refilling your medication prescriptions
- Getting your flu shot
Oosterman, on behalf of Bluewater Health, suggests someone who is experiencing medical stress take action right away, even if that means not going to the Emergency Department at the hospital.
- Always call 911 if you experience chest pain, stroke symptoms or an acute medical emergency.
- Ask your local pharmacy what services they provide (prescription refills or over-the-counter medicine).
Bluewater Health encourages people to consider care options such as:
- Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000
- Walk-in clinics
- Your family doctor
- Canadian Mental Health (CMHA) Crisis Line at (519) 336-3445 or 1-800-307-4319
- Family Counselling Centre Distress Line (24 hours) at (519) 336-3000
- Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868