Health care primer
How to choose the right care at the right time
BY SUSIE STRACHAN
Winnipeg Health Region
Wave, January / February 2013
You’ve had a cold for a couple of days. Last night, you couldn’t sleep because of your cough. Your throat is sore, your head is aching. You know you need medical attention.
The first thing you could do is call your doctor and make an appointment. The family doctor is the gateway to care in our health-care system and should always be the first choice for care.
But it’s late in the day and you can’t get hold of your doctor. Or perhaps you are new to the city and you don’t have one yet. What are your options?
As it turns out, you have several choices for seeking care within the Winnipeg Health Region, including walk-in clinics, QuickCare clinics and urgent care. You can also seek an appointment for treatment at one of several ACCESS Centres or community clinics around the city, many of which are staffed by nurse practitioners.
“One option many people overlook is their doctor,” says Lori Lamont, Chief Nursing Officer with the Winnipeg Health Region. “Those often keep a number of spots open for same-day calls, so try reaching your doctor first.”
Knowing if you have a minor or a major health problem will help you decide where you need to go.
“Recently, I felt unwell,” said Lamont. “But I didn’t think it was that bad that I should go to a hospital Emergency Department. I went to a walk-in clinic and got my treatment quickly. I know that hospital Emergency Departments are for serious illnesses and emergency situations. I also knew that if I came in with a minor ailment, I would have to wait until the people with more serious health problems were taken care of.”
Lamont says that if you have a condition that is a threat to life and limb, you should proceed to the nearest hospital Emergency Department or call 911, which connects you to ambulance, police or fire personnel in an emergency situation. Trained emergency dispatchers will provide you with the assistance you need for your situation.
In less serious cases, however, there are a number of other options. Here are a few:
Health Links/Info Sante
If you want to talk with someone, Health Links is a 24-hour, seven day a week telephone information service, which is staffed by registered nurses with the knowledge to provide answers over the phone to health-care questions and guide you to the care you need.
You can call anytime at 204-788-8200, or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257. You can also visit the website at misericordia.mb.ca/Programs/HealthLinks.html.
Winnipeg has two QuickCare Clinics which treat minor ailments, offering evening and weekend appointments and walk-ins. The clinics - at 363 McGregor Street and 17 St. Mary’s Road - are staffed by registered nurses and nurse practitioners who can diagnose and treat minor ailments.
A QuickCare Clinic is the place to go if you have:
- Bumps, bruises or sprains;
- Rashes, eczema, infected cuts or minor sores;
- Sore throats, earaches, colds and flu, coughs, hay fever or nose bleeds;
- Sore eyes with redness or infection;
- Stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting, urinary infections or indigestion;
- Headaches, back or neck pain;
- Birth control or breast feeding;
- Sexual health-related issues, including birth control;
- Stress or anxiety;
- Minor medical issues in children.
Misericordia Urgent Care
Whether you’ve broken an arm, your baby has a fever, or you are living with mental illness, the Urgent Care Centre can help. Misericordia’s 24-hour Urgent Care Centre handles non-life-threatening medical issues, providing assessment and treatment. In addition, patients also have access to diagnostic testing and other health-care disciplines such as social work, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nutrition, pharmacy and respiratory therapy.
The Misericorida is located at 99 Cornish Avenue. Call 204-788-8188, or visit www.misericordia.mb.ca.
Minor Injury Clinic at Pan Am Clinic
The Pan Am Clinic’s Minor Injury Clinic treats most non-life-threatening bone, joint and soft tissue injuries. They can set and cast broken bones, recommend splints, casts, braces or crutches, clean, dress or stitch minor wounds and burns, do tetanus shots, and organize further testing and referrals as necessary. The clinic is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends and holidays. They have both walk-in spots and can make appointments. There is also a minor injury clinic for children.
The Pan Am Clinic is located at 75 Poseidon Bay. Call 204-925-1556 (adults), 204-927-2688 (children) or visit www.panamclinic.org.
Hospital Emergency Departments
As the name suggests, Emergency Departments are for health emergencies. Conditions that require emergency treatment can include heart attack, major trauma, severe head injury, amputation, severe difficulty breathing (due to an allergic reaction or other cause), sexual assault, domestic violence and severe bleeding or any time a person is unconscious. Emergency Departments provide emergency care, 24 hours a day, on a walk-in basis. Nursing staff will assess your ailment and place you in the treatment queue, with more critical patients seen first. Referrals are provided to other services such as counselling and safe shelters. Emergency Departments are located at:
1095 Concordia Avenue
300 Booth Drive
Health Sciences Centre
700 William Avenue
St. Boniface General Hospital
409 Tache Avenue
Seven Oaks General Hospital
2300 McPhillips Street
Victoria General Hospital
2340 Pembina Highway
Children’s Hospital Emergency Department
24-hour treatment available for all medical emergencies for children to age 17, including sexual assault, domestic violence and psychiatric disorders. Call 204-787-4244 or visit www.hsc.mb.ca.
ACCESS Centres offer primary care, and a range of health services and social services, community mental health and counselling and public health care, supported living services, child daycare services, community outreach, vocational services and employment and income assistance.
There are three ACCESS Centres in Winnipeg:
640 Main Street
ACCESS River East
975 Henderson Highway
845 Regent Avenue
There are several agencies and services that offer mental health or helpline services. They are:
Mental Health Mobile Crisis Services
This team of mental health professionals is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to assist people in the Winnipeg region who are in mental health crisis. Call the crisis service at 204-940-1781, TTY (Deaf Access) 204-779-8902.
Klinic Community Health Centre
Klinic operates a 24 hour telephone Crisis Line providing counselling, crisis intervention, support, information and referrals. Call 204-786-8686 (24-hours).
Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre
This centre offers mental health services for youth and teenagers experiencing emotional or behavioural concerns as well as symptoms of mental illness. Call 204-958-9660, or visit www.matc.ca.
Marymound Crisis Stabilization Unit
Short-term, 24-hour care for girls. Designed to stabilize the young person and her family or caregiver during acute psycho-social crisis. Call the Youth Emergency Crisis Stabilization System at 949-4777 in Winnipeg or toll-free at 1-888-383-2776, or visit www.marymound.com.
Manitoba Poison Centre
The Manitoba Poison Centre provides access to a team of doctors, nurses and other poison experts via a toll-free phone number. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1-855-7POISON (1-855-776-4766).
For a searchable database of health services provided by the Winnipeg Health Region, please click here.
Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.
Read the January / February 2013 issue of Wave