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Tips for accessing healthcare this holiday season

Thursday December 23, 2021

It’s no surprise that hospital Emergency Departments are busy during this time of the year. Increasing cases of COVID-19 and reduced operating hours of walk-in clinics and physicians’ offices over the holidays can lead to increased visits in the Emergency Department and lengthen wait times which can make for a frustrating experience. With the holidays just days away, being prepared could help you avoid an unnecessary visit to the Emergency Department. 

Here are some tips that could keep you healthier over the holidays and make accessing healthcare this time of year a bit smoother. 

Plan ahead 

  • Get the flu shot and your COVID-19 vaccinations and follow all COVID-19 precautions and public health measures.  
  • Check your medication supplies and refill as many prescriptions as possible before Christmas Eve. 
  • Call your primary care provider to ask about their holiday hours and after-hours coverage, so you know where to go if you need to see a doctor. 
  • Check holiday hours of walk-in clinics and urgent care centres in your area. A list of local walk-in and urgent care clinics can be found here. 
  • If you require a COVID-19 test, please note that testing is NOT conducted in the Emergency Department. To book a COVID-19 test at Southlake’s Assessment Centre located at 22 Prospect Street, click here. 

If you do need care the following tips can help make your experience smoother. 

  • Call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 to speak with a nurse from the comfort of your home if you are feeling unwell and are unsure whether to seek medical attention. 
  • Ensure you have your health card with you when you do seek medical attention. 
  • Bring all your medications, including vitamins and over-the-counter drugs with you should you visit a clinic or Emergency Department. 
  • If you feel that you need urgent attention, for example you are experiencing shortness of breath or chest pains, call 911. 
  • Call to confirm that the department or clinic that you wish to visit is open before coming to Southlake. If you require assistance with reaching a particular department or clinic at Southlake, call 905-895-4521. Patient Scheduling is closed on all statutory holidays. Please call in advance to confirm your appointment. 

As always, Southlake’s Emergency Department is always open during the holiday season. 

Happy holidays!