Use Your ER Wisely Campaign
Chilliwack campaign empowers patients to make best health care choices, reduce ER congestion
A new patient education campaign underway in Chilliwack aims to help patients avoid unnecessary visits to the Emergency Room and inform them of the various primary care options available in their community. Launched locally by the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and Fraser Health in partnership with Chilliwack Healthier Community, the Use the ER Wisely campaign provides information on a range of primary care resources that may be appropriate for their health care needs.
“Educating patients about where to go to receive timely and available medical attention in the community not only gives them a better understanding of our health care system , but also helps them feel engaged in their own care,” says Dr. Ralph Jones, Physician Lead, Chilliwack Division of Family Practice. “This leads to patients making healthy and informed choices that improve their overall experience.”
This campaign is part of a broader effort within the Fraser Health region. Elsewhere in the province, these health care initiatives are proving successful and resulting in fewer non-emergency visits to the Emergency Room.
“We believe that this campaign could have a significant impact on our community, just as it has with neighbouring communities,” says, Petra Pardy, Executive Director, Health Service Areas Chilliwack, Hope & Agassiz, Fraser Health. “For example, similar efforts in White Rock-South Surrey, where the campaign began, have contributed to a decrease in non-emergency visits to Peace Arch Hospital by more than 1,100 in the span of its first year. We expect to see compounded results as the message spreads throughout the community and changes the way people think about their health care options.”
The campaign features a rack card and poster encouraging patients to “call your doctor first” and suggesting when they might call 811 (HealthLink BC), PAM (patient attachment mechanism), or the Fraser Health Crisis Line, or speak with a pharmacist, access a walk-in clinic, or visit the ER (or call 911).
A detailed breakdown of these primary care options is as follows:
Your family doctor: Patients who require non-emergency medical attention are strongly encouraged to call their family doctor first. As family doctors are most familiar with a patient’s medical history, they can advise accordingly – in many cases, same-day urgent appointments may be available.
Walk-in Clinics: If a patient doesn’t have a family doctor, or when a patient’s family doctor isn’t available, they can access medimap.ca. It’s an online service that tracks walk-in clinic wait times (in real-time), so patients can identify where they can get the fastest access to care. Walk-in clinics provide an important service in the community when a patient’s family doctor is not available.
Patient Attachment Mechanism (PAM): The PAM (Patient Attachment Mechanism) waitlist program works to connect Chilliwack, Agassiz-Harrison, and Hope patients who don’t already have a Family Doctor or Nurse Practitioner, to one in their community.
If you have already registered through the preexisting phone system, please do not register again as you are already on the waitlist. Register here: www.divisionsbc.ca/chilliwack/pam. You’ll receive an email to confirm you’re on the waitlist and we’ll be in touch when there is capacity to attach you.
In the meantime, visit www.medimap.ca for walk-in clinic locations and wait times. Please note that the average wait time for Chilliwack is approximately 5 months. If you don’t have internet access, call 604-795-0034 and we’ll be happy to process your registration over the phone.
8-1-1 HealthLinkBC: This phone line offers health information and advice to those with health concerns. Callers can speak to a health services navigator, who can connect them directly with a registered nurse, a registered dietitian, a qualified exercise professional, or a pharmacist. Call 8-1-1.
Fraser Health Crisis Line: This call-service provides immediate, free, and confidential emotional support, crisis intervention and community resource information to people of all ages 24 hours a day – everyday. Call 604-951-8855 or 1-877-820-7444.
Campaign posters and rack cards are available in Doctor’s clinics, walk in clinics, libraries, rec centres, and throughout the community to remind patients of their options when choosing non-urgent care. These efforts are complemented by an ongoing social media campaign supported by Fraser Health and the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice.