From the desk of Joanne Flewwelling, Executive VP, Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive
The last time you visited the emergency department (ED) for care, why were you there?
While many people would consider going to the ED only for serious medical incidents, one in five Canadians visit the ED for non-life threatening conditions that could be treated by your family physician or at a clinic. This startling statistic comes from a recent report from the Canadian Information for Health Information (CIHI).
Osler continues to have one of the busiest EDs in the province with more than 204,000 patients coming through our doors last year. We know that there are a number of reasons why people come to the ED for care and to help alleviate some of the pressure, we’re looking at new ways of providing access to health care services for less acute needs.
Osler is shifting to a new approach to health care, focusing on prevention and health maintenance, with the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness. When the new Peel Memorial is complete in two years, patients will have access to a wide variety of traditional and alternative health care services most needed by the community under one roof, including urgent care (similar to emergency care).
Peel Memorial’s Urgent Care Centre will have the capacity to diagnose and treat more than 40,000 patients in non-life threatening situations that include coughs and colds, minor abdominal pain, soft tissue injuries, and uncomplicated joint dislocations, sprains and cuts. This will increase the capacity to provide acute medical care to patients with more acute or life-threatening conditions in the ED at Brampton Civic.
On top of our already high patient volumes in the ED, we often see an increase in activity over the holiday season. This happens for a number of reasons, including:
- More cases of the flu
- Reduced operating hours for or doctor’s offices and walk-in clinics
- Less availability of community resources
- Higher rates of health incidents caused by activities of the holiday season
We’re once again working with our local health partners to better understand care options in the community and bringing in extra staff to ensure that our patients and families are receiving timely, patient-inspired care in our EDs. Osler’s website, Facebook page and Twitter feed will be used to share tips and information about where patients might also be able to seek care for less complex conditions during the holiday season.