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Newsroom
20/12/2011
Let’s Keep Emergency for Emergencies
Emergency physicians say health planning as important as party planning!

Ottawa, December 20, 2011 – With the Holiday Season only a few days away, emergency physicians from all local hospitals wish to remind everyone to plan ahead to protect their health and to avoid the possibility of long waits at local Emergency Departments.

”We generally tend to think ahead when preparing our shopping, cooking, and parties. We want to remind the community that health care planning is important too,” said Dr. Louise McNaughton-Filion, Co-Chair of the Champlain Emergency Services Network and Champlain LHIN ED Lead. ”Advance planning and preparation is easy and will help us all in managing the long waits we see in emergency wards during holidays. Many can easily avoid long waits by asking themselves a few simple questions.”
 
• What are the hours of my doctor’s office? Is the office open between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day?
• Is my family doctor a member of a family health team that provides on call service? If not, is he able to refer me to another doctor?
• I do not have a family doctor. Where and what are the hours of the nearest walk-in clinic?

Preparation and prevention of illness and injuries is in everyone’s best interest.
• Make sure that everyone in your family has enough of their medications - both prescription and non-prescription as well as needles, alcohol swabs, etc.
• Check out inhalers, respirators, oxygen, and glucose testing machines.
• Sand or salt your driveway and walkways.
• Don’t visit others when you are ill.
• Cover your mouth when you cough and wash your hands regularly.

Nevertheless, health emergencies do occur and Emergency Departments are open seven days a week, 24 hours a day to provide emergency medical care to those in need.

You should go to the Emergency Department if:
• Your child has diarrhea or vomiting and signs of dehydration (no tears, a very dry mouth, have not urinated at least two to three times over the last 24 hours)
• Your child is under three months of age and has a fever over 38° C or 100.4° F
• Your child develops a rash that does not turn white when you push on it.
• Your child has a fever and is difficult to wake up or is very sleepy.
• You have severe pain, chest pain or tightness in the chest.
• You or your child experience shortness of breath, choking or difficulty breathing (for example: breathing faster than normal; look paler than usual or have whitish or bluish lips; are coughing excessively, choking or breathing irregularly).
• You think you may have broken a bone.
• You have sudden, severe headaches, vision problems, sudden weakness, numbness and/or tingling in the face, arm or leg, trouble speaking, or dizziness.
• Repeated vomiting following an injury to the head or belly.
• If you or a family member has a mental health crisis with a risk of suicide.

Those who visit Emergency Departments with non life-threatening conditions can expect to wait several hours during this very busy time of year. Wait times in Emergency Departments change constantly because patients are prioritized by the seriousness of their illnesses. ”First-come-first-served does not work in Emergency Departments. We provide emergency medical care first for those who need it first,” adds Dr. McNaughton-Filion.

Non-emergency conditions are best treated by family doctors or a local medical clinic. If you have any doubts and suspect a life threatening illness, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1. The ambulance will respond quickly and take you to an Emergency Department where you will receive the appropriate care.

The following health information services are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:
Poison Control at 1-800-268-9017: Will provide callers with information relating to exposure or injection to poisons and toxic substances
Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000: Will provide callers with for free access to registered nurses who will provide answers to health-related questions
Quebec CLSC: 819 -770-6900, during the daytime. After hours listen to the recording for directions, which give a telephone number to call in the Outaouais region;
Your local Community Health Centre or a Family Medical Center: Can assist with minor emergencies such as stitches. See telephone listing for “clinics” the yellow pages or www.yellowpages.ca
Mental Health Crisis Line: 613-722-6914 in Ottawa or 1-866-281-2911 outside the city, provides assistance to those 16 years of age and older
Youth Services Bureau (YSB) 24/7 Crisis Line: Provides help for children, youth & families 613-260-2360 or 1-877-377-7775 )

If you decide to come to the emergency department, please be sure to bring your health card and a list of your medications. We request that only one family member accompany the patient and all other family members remain at home. All people with cough or cold symptoms entering the hospital will be asked to wear a mask during their visit.

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For additional information and interview requests, please call:

Marie Belanger, Media Relations, CHEO 613-737-2343

 
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