Holiday health care options

This week’s guest blogger is Dr. Frank Martino, Chief of Staff

It’s never an intended part of anyone’s holiday plans – a fever, stomach bug, infection, broken bone or cut. But illnesses and accidents don’t seem to care much about the date on the calendar.

If they did, we wouldn’t see significant increases in patient volumes at our hospitals during the holiday season. Holiday surge, however, has become the norm at Osler, along with most other hospitals across the country. Last year at Osler, our team cared for an unprecedented 25,734 patients over a two week period in December and January, with the highest volumes on December 26.

The good news is there are things each of us can do to mitigate our chances of getting sick and/or the impact of illness should it strike this holiday season. And it starts with getting the flu shot. We can also boost our immune system by eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep.

Staying well and out of the hospital during the holidays also involves some proactive planning. Most of us make lists for the groceries and gifts we need to buy. I recommend you also consider making a holiday care check list, one that reminds you to:

  • fill prescriptions and stock up on any needed medications and medical supplies like inhalers, oxygen and glucose test strips ahead of time
  • find out what hours your family doctor or specialist’s office is open during the holidays
  • figure out where the closest urgent care clinics are
  • take note of the number for Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000

Be sure to check out some more holiday care options and tips at our special Holiday Page. We’ve also created a video and some helpful infographics, included in this blog, to help you determine when you should seek treatment at Peel Memorial’s Urgent Care Centre and when you should go to one of our two acute care Emergency Departments.

Our hope, of course, is that you and your family enjoy a happy, healthy holiday season, but we also want you to know that we’re here for you if you need us. And that we’ve taken significant steps to extend and adjust resources to accommodate the anticipated higher patient volumes and ensure everyone in the community continues to have access to safe, quality, patient-inspired care when and where it is needed.


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