Region-wide virtual care site created
February 24, 2021
HAMILTON and LONDON, Ont. – St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and Hamilton Health Sciences are partnering in a joint pilot initiative to offer virtual urgent care services to residents of southwestern Ontario. This service offers patients located outside these hospital communities the opportunity to access urgent care without leaving home.
- St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton will provide virtual urgent care for adults.
- Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre will provide virtual urgent care for children/youths.
- Hamilton Health Sciences will provide virtual acute care consultations for long-term care residents (currently Hamilton and Niagara North West).
Adults and families seeking a virtual urgent care consultation can visit the website, UrgentCareOntario.ca, and choose the applicable urgent care pathway to find out if the service is appropriate for the situation and to book an appointment.
Hours of operation for adult and children/youth urgent care service are 12 noon to 8 p.m. daily. You can also call 1-844-CARE-844 (1-844-227-3844) to request an urgent care consultation. Whether you use the website or call, you’ll be connected to the appropriate hospital provider directly and provided with details on the appointment process with that provider.
This virtual urgent care service does not replace in-person visits to the emergency department; rather, it provides a way for adults and families to reach out for help with urgent care needs.
During the virtual appointment, the doctor will assess the patient and determine next steps, which could include diagnosing the medical issue and prescribing treatment. The doctor can prescribe new medications during the appointment if required. They can’t provide a regular refill of a medication already prescribed.
Virtual urgent care appointments allow adults, parents with children and long-term care providers to speak to the appropriate emergency room doctor remotely to discuss the patient’s condition. Together, the doctor, the patient or providers will determine next steps, such as seeing another care provider or coming to the emergency department.
“Many people are apprehensive about leaving their home during the pandemic, says Dr. Greg Rutledge (pictured), chief of emergency medicine, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. “We’re offering a way for the community to receive excellent care, but from the comfort of home seven days a week.”
“As providers, we’re really enthusiastic about this program. The LTC Cares program provides virtual acute care consultations for residents living in long-term care homes. This allows residents to stay comfortably in their home setting with the care team that they know and see every day. Residents and families feel safe as they navigate their health concern with their family doctor or nurse practitioners and the added support of acute care services in the hospital. The shared knowledge and expertise of the emergency department physician and the entire hospital, along with the long-term care staff who know the residents best, is invaluable,” says Dr. Michelle Welsford, emergency medicine physician at Hamilton Health Sciences.
This initiative received provincial funding to enhance the pandemic response through appropriate virtual care options, which are key in ensuring continuity of health services while preventing the spread of COVID-19.
About St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) is a leading research and academic health science centre located in the heart of Hamilton, Ontario. It is a pioneer of the Integrated Comprehensive Care model, a leader in patient-centred care, and a major provider of mental health and addiction services, respiratory care and kidney care, in addition to other acute care, surgical and outpatient services at its three distinct sites. St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, a proud member of St. Joseph’s Health System, is a teaching hospital affiliated with the world-renowned McMaster University. Learn more at www.stjoes.ca.
About London Health Sciences Centre and Children’s Hospital
London Health Sciences Centre has been at the forefront of medicine in Canada for 145 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, the Kidney Care Centre, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 70 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information, visit www.lhsc.on.ca.
About Hamilton Health Sciences
Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) is a community of 15,000 staff, physicians, researchers and volunteers that proudly serves southwestern Ontario residents. HHS provides specialized, advanced care to people from across the province. HHS is the only hospital in Ontario that cares for all ages, from pre-birth to end-of-life. HHS offers world-leading expertise in many areas, including cardiac and stroke care, cancer care, palliative care and pediatrics. HHS is a world-renowned hospital for healthcare research and focuses daily on improving the quality of care for our patients through innovation and evidence-based practices. As the largest employer in the Greater Hamilton region, HHS plays a vital role in training the next generation of health professionals in collaboration with our academic partners, including McMaster University and Mohawk College. For more information, visit www.hamiltonhealthsciences.ca.