Strategic Planning

Emergency Department

Please note that you may not obtain narcotics or medical marijuana from the emergency department.

When you arrive to the Emergency Department, you will be assessed by a Triage Nurse who will evaluate your symptoms and concerns, and determine how quickly you need to be seen and treated.


This process is known as “triage”. The Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale was developed to assist Emergency Departments in assessing the urgency and priority in which patients need to be seen by a physician and require medical treatment.


Triage allows the nurse to identify the sickest patients so they can be seen first. The Triage Nurse will make her assessment based on a history of your illness or injury and a review of your vital signs.

The Emergency Department does not function on a first-come, first-served basis. There may be times that someone who arrived after you is treated first.

The Triage Nurse uses a tool called the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS). Some examples include:

Level 1 – resuscitation: obviously life threatening:
* Cardiac Arrest
* Coma
* Blocked airway

Level 2 – emergent: conditions with a potential threat to life or limb:
* Chest pain suggestive of heart problems
* Severe bleeding

Level 3 – urgent: a condition or serious problem requiring emergency intervention:
* Shortness of breath
* Abdominal pain
* Kidney stone

Level 4 – less urgent: conditions which because of distress or potential for complications would benefit from intervention:
* Bladder infections
* Lacerations

Level 5 – non-urgent: conditions which are non-urgent and/or which might be part of a chronic problem:
* Diarrhea
* Insect bites
* Dressing changes


While You Are Waiting

If your condition changes and you begin to feel worse, tell the Triage Nurse immediately.
• Do not leave the ED without first telling the Triage Nurse. It is important that your illness, injury or condition be assessed before you leave.
• Do not eat or drink anything until you ask the Triage Nurse as some tests cannot be done if you have had anything to eat or drink.
• Please leave small children at home in someone else's care.
• Have only one family member or friend wait with you.

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