When and where to get healthcare this holiday

RVH CEO and President urges people to be prepared

News release – from Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre

Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) wants you and your family to plan ahead in the event of an illness during the holidays.

“We can’t stress enough that people need to be prepared and know how to access healthcare services during the holidays,” says Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO. “We hope people don’t require emergency care over the holidays, but if they do, we are always open.”

If you are unsure if a trip to RVH’s Emergency department (ED) is required, you can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. This is a free and confidential service providing health advice or general health information from a registered nurse. Please note that in emergency situations, you should call 9-1-1 first as Telehealth is not able to diagnose your illness or prescribe medicine.

If you do need to visit the ED, remember to bring your health card, along with a list of your medications. Please remember that patients are treated based on the urgency of their condition and not on a first-come, first-served basis. Also keep in mind that wait times may be longer at this time of year. Due to COVID restrictions, visitors are not permitted in the ED with some exceptions, such as accompanying someone under the age of 18, or at the discretion of the care team.

Always call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing pain or tightness in the chest, shortness of breath or when you experience a sudden drooping in your face, difficulty raising your arms, and slurred or jumbled speech. Do not attempt to drive yourself to hospital.

You should bring your child to the ED if they have significant vomiting and diarrhea with very little urination. You should also bring your young baby (under three months of age) to hospital if they develop a fever over 38.0 C (100.4 F) or if you have any concerns with a sick child of any age.

If your condition is not an emergency, there are multiple walk-in clinics and COVID, Cold and Flu Care clinics in Barrie open during the holidays. It is best to call the clinics or consult their websites before heading out. The Sperling Drive COVID, cold and flu clinic will be closed December 24, 25, 31 and January 1. Appointments must be pre-booked through via rvh.on.ca or by calling 705-7973120, option 3 

If you have a loved one who is spending the holidays in hospital, please note visitor restrictions are in place and are listed on the RVH website. All visitors must be double-vaccinated (some exceptions apply). Call the patient’s care team for clarification. If you are unable to visit, messages can be sent to inpatients through RVH’s Best Wishes service which can be accessed on the RVH website at rvh.on.ca.

If you require a COVID-19 test, you can book an appointment at the Barrie Testing Clinic at 29 Sperling Drive. Check the website (rvh.on.ca) for holiday hours of operation. The clinic is closed on December 25 and January 1. Future and same-day appointments must be booked (no walk-ins) online at rvh.on.ca or by calling 705-797-3120 and selecting Option 2.

Other tips to keep you and your family healthy:

·         Ask your doctor’s office what back-up coverage they have, such as after-hours clinics or an on-call service.

·         Update emergency telephone numbers and post in a visible place, such as your refrigerator.

·         Ensure everyone in your family has enough medical supplies, and prescription and non-prescription medications and test to make sure inhalers, respirators, oxygen and glucose-testing machines are in good working order.

·         Know where the nearest 24-hour pharmacy is located.

·         Wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and disinfect surfaces thoroughly to stop the spread of germs, protecting you and your family.

·         When in public wear a mask and maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) from others.

·         Limit your indoor holiday gatherings to 10 people. Ask guests not to attend if they have any symptoms, even if they are mild.

·         Abide by all COVID-19 public health precautions as outlined by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

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