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Helping patients to be prepared

Posted Dec 22nd, 2014

Hospital emergency departments and emergency services personnel across Niagara are extremely busy this time of year. Understanding your medical options will help you get the right care as quickly as possible.

Emergency Departments treat the sickest patients first. Patients with life- or limb-threatening injuries or illnesses are treated first, followed by those with less urgent illnesses or medical conditions. Reasons for coming to the ED can include chest pain, severe abdominal pain, fractured or broken bones, major injuries and mental health issues. For more information, go to You can also consult your family physician or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. If you have any doubts, call 911 or go to the closest ED.

Patients can play an important role in their care by bringing a list of their medications when they visit one of our sites. To download a medication brochure, go to:

EDs, open 24/7, are located at three Niagara Health System sites: Greater Niagara General Site (Niagara Falls), St. Catharines General Site and Welland Site.

Urgent Care Services in Fort Erie, Port Colborne and St. Catharines

Urgent care is medical attention and treatment for people experiencing less serious illnesses and injuries. Experienced Emergency Department doctors and nurses provide urgent care. They have access to services such as X-ray, lab tests and pharmacy. Niagara Health System Urgent Care Services are provided at three sites: Port Colborne, Fort Erie and St. Catharines.

Reasons for requiring Urgent Care include sprains, sports injuries; cuts that may need stitches; minor burns; minor abdominal pain (nausea, vomiting); ear, nose, throat or eye problems; urinary tract infections; fever; coughs and colds, flu.

Avoid health problems and illness by being prepared. Here is a checklist to consider:

  • Call the doctor's office and local pharmacy. Find out what their hours will be over the holidays and ask about any back-up coverage arrangements.
  • Check medications and medical equipment. Make sure that all family members have enough of their medications, both prescription and non-prescription, to last throughout the holiday season. Don't forget needles, alcohol swabs, etc. Also check inhalers, respirators, oxygen, and glucose testing machines.
  • Update all emergency telephone numbers and post them in a visible place.
  •  Do your best to take care of yourself and stay healthy.

More information on the web:

  • The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website provides information about family health teams, nurse practitioner-led clinics, community health centres, urgent care centres, walk-in clinics and emergency rooms.


Media inquiries: Steven Gallagher, Communications Specialist, 905-378-4647, ext. 43879; 

Niagara Health System