Woodstock Hospital is not immune to the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, most notably in our Emergency Department.
With some healthcare providers closing offices or reducing hours over the holidays, emergency departments can be the only option for individuals seeking medical attention between Christmas and the New Year. This can lead to longer than usual wait times for healthier patients or for those who don't require immediate emergency care.
Under guidance from the South West Local Health Integration Network, Woodstock Hospital has put together a plan that will help us deal with higher volumes of patients, both those who are admitted into hospital and those who visit our Emergency Department.
Individuals should note what degree of services are available from other agencies that they are associated with such as the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Alzheimer's Society or Home & Community Care South West LHIN.
A resource that is available 24/7 is Telehealth Ontario. Those looking for health advice or information can call 1-866-797-0000 and speak to a Registered Nurse. Telehealth nurses will not diagnose an illness or give medicine. Callers will be directed to the most appropriate level of care or be put in contact with a health professional who can advise on next steps. This service is free and confidential.
The South West LHIN, in collaboration with the southwesthealthline.ca, has developed a holiday resource page to share options for non-emergency medical access during the holidays: www.holidays.southwesthealthline.ca
Of course not all emergency visits are avoidable and symptoms including pains or tightness in the chest, broken bones, wounds that may need stitches and shortness of breath are all reasons to go to the Emergency Department.
Patients visiting the Emergency Department are asked to remember to bring their OHIP card or other medical insurance information along with a list or supply of current medications. Those bringing children are asked to bring diapers, blankets and other comfort items. If your condition worsens while waiting in the department please notify a staff member immediately.
Patients are also asked to plan ahead and check that they have enough medication to get through the holidays. Your pharmacy should be the first option should you run out of a prescribed medication. Another way to plan ahead it to get your flu shot if you have not done so already.
As with every emergency visit, no matter what time of year, patients will be seen by a doctor based on the severity of their illness or injury.
We hope you have a safe and Happy Holiday!
Click the image above to go to the South West Healthline's resource page for non-emergency care over the holidays.