VCH emergency departments prepared to safely care for patients

DURING the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency departments across Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) are prepared to safely receive and care for all individuals who experience health conditions that require urgent and emergency care.

The public is advised to seek urgent and emergent care without delay, to prevent the exacerbation of medical conditions.

Some health conditions that may require emergency care include:

·       Trouble breathing or catching your breath

·       Severe abdominal or chest pain/pressure

·       Weakness or tingling on one side of your body

·       Loss of consciousness

·       Heavy bleeding

For non-life-threatening urgent care such as sprains, strains, fevers, minor burns and infections or when you are unable to see your family doctor or care provider visit an Urgent Primary Care Centre. These centres are open extended hours, every day, and staffed with emergency-trained health professionals to handle urgent and primary care.

If you’re not sure if it’s an emergency, you can call 811 to access HealthLink BC services for trusted health advice. This free, 24-hour non-emergency multi-lingual phone service is staffed by trained registered nurses, pharmacists and dietitians who can help answer your health-related questions.

At this time, patients who require a refill of their regular medications do not need to visit a doctor or nurse practitioner for an updated prescription. Instead, a pharmacist can provide patients with a refill or emergency supply of their medications. This is to avoid non-essential visits to a doctor or nurse practitioner.

VCH says that hospitals continue to be safe places for patients.  Staff are prepared and have protocols in place to ensure any patient that comes to the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms does not pose a risk to others. These guidelines are in place as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of patients, staff and physicians.