Staying Healthy and Knowing Care Options Key This Season

December 10, 2019

The winter season brings with it increased demand for health services. Knowing where to go for care is key.

“By taking steps to stay healthy and by being prepared, people can avoid non-essential emergency visits or greatly improve their experience if they need care over the holidays,” says Dr. Amit Shah, Emergency Department Clinical Lead, South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). “This in turn helps the health care system.”

Simple actions like getting a free flu shot, ensuring you have all your prescriptions refilled before the holidays, and washing your hands often can help you stay healthy. More tips to help you stay healthier this holiday season are available at

Easy-to-access information on non-emergency medical services

We encourage members of the public to access when they are looking for help with non-emergency medical issues over the holidays. is a free, comprehensive on-line resource featuring up-to-date information on services available for non-emergency medical needs across communities in southwestern Ontario.

A public awareness campaign using the hashtag #KnowWhereToGo has been launched to promote the site’s Holiday Hours page which features resources that are open and available during statutory holidays including: crisis intervention assistance; Telehealth Ontario; medical walk-in clinics; community pharmacies with extended hours; or urgent care services.

“The holidays are a particularly busy time and so the is a central, easy to use tool for patients who have health needs but are unsure of what services they can access in their local community,” says Dr. Paul Gill, Digital Health Clinical Lead, South West LHIN.

Do you know where to go if you are feeling sick over the holidays?

The South West LHIN will also be conducting a social media survey which asks followers, “Do you know where to go if you are feeling sick over the holidays?” The South West LHIN will use the survey results to better understand public awareness of non-emergency services and how best to support the public in understanding their local health care options.

Health service providers across the South West have been working to ensure patient care is optimized during the winter season. Recognizing the possibility of increased number of emergency department visits during the holidays, a holiday surge protocol – developed in collaboration with primary care providers and acute care hospitals – will be enacted to help manage the increased number of patients that could find themselves in emergency departments this year.


For more information:

Dan Brennan
Director, Communications
South West LHIN