26 Feb Right Call Right Care
Have you ever found yourself wondering if you should call 911 but you weren’t sure if it was necessary? The “Right Call Right Care” campaign was developed to assist people in exploring other healthcare options that are available prior to relying on the emergency system. These options could result in quicker and more appropriate care for the patient while allowing paramedics to be available for life-threatening emergencies such as chest pain and shortness of breath.
Although calling 911 would seem to be the quickest way to get care in the Province, ambulance transport does not guarantee a faster response and assessment at hospital. Patients are assessed or triaged upon arrival regardless of how they arrive and are seen according to their presenting condition. A minor complaint arriving by ambulance is not seen any quicker than a minor complaint arriving in their personal vehicle.
Paramedics must stay with their patients in the hospital until a transfer of care to the emergency room staff can take place. These delays prevent ambulances from being available to respond to emergencies and puts strain on the paramedic system across the province. Urgent life threatening conditions are seen immediately and paramedics can transfer care quickly, however, low priority patients are often held on paramedic stretchers until transfer of care to hospital staff can take place.
Although a lot of work has been and continues to be done in finding solutions to these delays across the province between the Ministry of Health, hospitals, Local Health Integration Networks and Regional and city paramedic services, appropriate use of the emergency services is another key step in reducing pressures on the emergency system.
With this in mind, residents of Waterloo Region and across the Province are encouraged to consider alternate and sometimes more appropriate care for their medical needs prior to initiating 911 including:
• Consulting your primary care provider
• Call TeleHealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000
• Go to a walk in clinic
• Visit your local pharmacy
• Self care at home
Taking time to explore other healthcare options prior to calling 911 will allow paramedics across the province to be available when needed most.
Always remember if you are experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath or symptoms of stroke 911 is always the right call.