Healthcare providers in Peterborough offer tips on how to seek the right care in the right location during seasonal “surge”

Written by Communications, December 2, 2019

With patient volumes expected to rise, PRHC, Peterborough Public Health & Peterborough Family Health Team encourage public to get the flu vaccine

(Peterborough, ON) – With the first case of flu now confirmed in our community, Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC), Peterborough Public Health, and Peterborough Family Health team (PFHT) are reminding community members that getting immunized is their best defense against the flu during surge season.

PRHC is currently in sustained overcapacity going into this year’s surge season, with Emergency Department (ED) visits projected to be about 91,000 this year compared to 88,000 in 2018/2019. The hospital also has an average of 100 patients designated Alternate Level of Care (ALC), compared with 80 last year. These patients occupy approximately 25% of the hospital’s inpatient beds.

“The hospital continues to work hard to create additional space and capacity in order to continue accommodating patient needs throughout the flu season,” explains Dr. Lynn Mikula, Chief of Staff at PRHC. “This is the busiest time of year for healthcare providers, and in order to provide the best care possible we encourage community members to not only get the flu vaccine, but also to assess the urgency of their illness and consider the best place to seek care.”

Most healthy people can manage a bout of influenza with self-care at home. Great tips are available at www.ontario.ca/flu. However, if you are at higher risk of complications from influenza, you may benefit from antivirals and an early medical assessment may be needed.   Community members are urged to consider the following alternate options for healthcare before considering a trip to the ED:

Primary Care: Call your family doctor or nurse practitioner. Same-day access instructions will be offered via the office voicemail message.

Telehealth Ontario: If you are uncertain about how or whether to seek medical care, speak to a registered nurse by calling Telehealth Ontario (24 hours) at 1-866-797-0000.

Ontario 211: A free helpline that connects you to community and social services in your area 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in more than 150 languages.

Peterborough Virtual Care Clinic & PFHT Clinic in Lakefield: These clinics provide comprehensive care to patients in Peterborough City and County who are without a healthcare provider. Unattached patients who visit either of these clinics will be placed on a waitlist for a local family doctor.

Programs and services of Peterborough Family Health Team are available by self-referral and individuals can register online.

The flu shot is free and widely available at many local pharmacies and your doctor’s office. Call your doctor to make an appointment for a flu shot for yourself or a member of your family and ask about your doctor’s flu clinic schedule. Residents can easily find out where the flu shot is available by visiting www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca/flu.

Peterborough Public Health continues to offer flu shot appointments for children under five years old without a healthcare provider by calling 705-743-1000 x.349.

“The flu season started early this year so we strongly recommend getting vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “It takes two weeks to become effective, so please keep this window in mind if you’re planning on visiting family and friends over the holidays, especially since seniors and young children are most vulnerable to complications from the flu.”

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For more information:

Michelene Ough, Director, Communications, PRHC

mough@prhc.on.ca ? 705-743-2121 x.4259

 

Brittany Cadence, Communications Manager, Peterborough Public Health

bcadence@peterboroughpublichealth.ca ? 705-743-1000 x. 391

 

Charlene McBride, Public Relations Officer, Peterborough Family Health Team

charlene.mcbride@peterboroughfht.com ? (705) 749-1564 x. 316