Critical or life threatening condition?
Call 9-1-1 or go immediately to your nearest hospital Emergency Department (ED) if you have been in a major accident or are experiencing:
- Trouble breathing, or catching your breath
- Severe abdominal or chest pain/pressure
- Weakness or tingling on one side of your body
- Loss of consciousness
- Heavy bleeding
For non-life-threatening emergencies such as sprains, strains, fevers, minor burns, and infections, visit an Urgent Primary Care Centre (UPCC) nearest to you. These centres are open daily and staffed with emergency-trained doctors and nurses to handle medical emergencies that don’t require admission to hospital.
Crisis intervention and suicide prevention
Not sure if it’s an emergency?
Call 8-1-1 (call 7-1-1 for hearing-impaired), to access HealthLink BC services for trusted health advice. This free, 24-hour non-emergency multi-lingual telephone service is staffed by trained registered nurses, pharmacists and dieticians who can help answer your health-related questions.
Non-emergency health concern?
Call your family doctor or care provider first. If your family doctor is not available, walk-in clinic wait times and hours.
Urgent medication refill?
Speak with your pharmacist. They can often provide short-term refills and other advice.
FREQUENTLY ASK QUESTIONS
What are the wait times?
Wait times can vary depending on time, location and your level of need. People are seen in the Emergency Department based on how hurt or sick they are. This means the sickest people are seen first even if you arrived before them. To check average wait times for your nearest hospital, visit the ED Wait times website.
What are the hours of operation?
Many of Vancouver Coastal Health’s hospital sites provide 24-hour emergency services, however operating hours may vary in rural communities. Call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 to verify hours of operation for emergency services in rural areas.
What to bring?
If possible, bring photo ID, your BC Services Card or CareCard and a list of any medications you are taking.
What to expect at the Emergency Department?
An Emergency Room (ER) triage nurse will see you when you arrive and ask you about your symptoms and check your vital signs. Have your photo ID, BC Services Card or CareCard and a list of your current medications ready for the nurse.
People are seen in the Emergency Department based on how hurt or sick they are. This means the sickest people are seen first even if you arrived before them.
Know that your medical records from your family doctor are not available at the Emergency Department. Emergency doctors only have information about your medical history from previous visits to that hospital.
Emergency Department employees are committed to providing the best quality health care they can. We ask for your patience as you wait for test results, interpretations, consultations and other information to help us diagnose and care for you.
Going home from the emergency department
Your health care team will work with you to help plan when you will go home.
Your doctor may write you a prescription for medication and a nurse will give you instructions on how to take the medication.
Try to arrange a family member or friend to drive or accompany you home.
Your health care team will work with you to coordinate any additional care that is required, such as home & community care services, care at another hospital or rehab services.