KHSC reminds community where to best access care due to high patient volumes

Kingston General Hospital main entrance off of Stuart Street. Photo by Lucas Mulder.

With unprecedented patient volumes in the Emergency Department (ED) at Kingston General Hospital (KGH) and the Urgent Care Centre (UCC) at Hotel Dieu Hospital (HDH), Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) is asking the community for support to ensure they can continue to deliver timely and appropriate care for those that need it most.

Patient volumes in the ED and UCC are currently 20 per cent higher than normal, with the ED seeing regularly more than 200 patients a day and the UCC seeing upwards of 140 patients per day, according to a release from KHSC. Normally those numbers would sit at 170 and 110 respectively.

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic and we are the largest hospital in the region. We see the sickest and most critically ill-people come through our Emergency Department (ED) as a result of traumatic injuries, strokes and heart attacks,” said Mike McDonald, Executive Vice-President of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Executive. “We are currently seeing record numbers of patients in our ED and UCC and we need to ensure that everyone is able to access the care they require in the right place at the right time.”

To ensure that Emergency and Urgent Care teams can continue to provide the highest level of care to the sickest individuals in our region, KHSC provided the information below, to assist individuals in deciding where to go if they do need to access health care services. KHSC asks that people with less serious illnesses or injuries seek medical attention in the appropriate place so that the sickest can continue to be seen quickly in the Emergency Department at KGH and Urgent Care Centre at HDH.

Family Doctor/Walk-in clinics

Patients with non-acute and non-life-threatening illnesses or injuries that require access to a medical professional should first consider accessing care through their primary care provider (family doctor) or go to a local walk-in clinic. A number of walk-in clinics are located across Kingston; you can find the closest one by visiting:

Urgent Care Centre at Hotel Dieu Hospital

Located at the Hotel Dieu Hospital site (166 Brock Street), the Urgent Care Centre provides care for patients with injuries or illnesses that require urgent medical attention that cannot wait for a visit to a family physician. This could include deep cuts and wounds that require stitches, sprains and strains or deep bruises, mild to moderate asthma attacks, infections of the ear, respiratory system or urinary tract, severe diarrhea, insect bites or rashes. The Urgent Care Centre is open every day between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Emergency Department at Kingston General Hospital

The Emergency Department provides care for patients with life or limb-threatening illness or injuries or patients who have a high likelihood of requiring hospital admission. This could include severe bleeding, difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, trauma to the head, sudden dizziness or difficulty seeing and severe abdominal pain. The Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day.

Patients who are experiencing chest pain, severe respiratory distress, allergic reactions, or the symptoms of stroke (sudden onset of arm/leg weakness, facial droop or slurred speech) should call 911 immediately.

Not sure where to go?

Telehealth Ontario is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and gives patients access to a registered nurse who will assess symptoms and help decide what kind of help is needed and where to get it. Phone 1-866-797-0000.

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