Emergency Department Wait Times

Emergency department wait times are approximate and are intended for information purposes only. The wait times are updated every five minutes.

Montague

Charlottetown

Summerside

Alberton

  • Western Hospital (8 a.m. – 8 p.m.) and as a Collaborative Emergency Centre (8 p.m. – 8 a.m.)

For more information, visit Understanding Emergency Department Wait Times.

When should I go to an emergency department?

If you or someone in your care has an urgent medical condition or is experiencing a health crisis, go to the nearest Emergency Department or call 9-1-1.  

Some examples of an urgent medical condition include: 

  • discomfort or tightness in the chest;
  • unusual shortness of breath;
  • abdominal pain;
  • a prolonged and persistent headache or dizziness;
  • an injury that may require stitches or may involve a broken bone;
  • prolonged diarrhea or vomiting (especially a child); or
  • a fever of 38°C or 100.4°F, or higher (especially a baby under six months).

If you are not feeling well and cannot wait to access your family doctor, a walk-in clinic can offer non-urgent care after hours.

A telehealth nurse can help you determine if you require emergency or non-urgent care. Call 8-1-1 for free and confidential advice from a registered nurse any time of day or night, 7 days a week.  

Should I use the online wait times to determine where I should go?

If you have an urgent medical condition, always call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department.

The online emergency department wait times are meant to provide the public with general information only. Wait times are estimated and can change without warning.

What should I bring with me to the emergency department?

Before you go to the emergency department, you should remember to bring:

  • your PEI Health Card or provincial health card (if visiting from another province);
  • an up-to-date list of your medications, [PDF | 609 KB] including how much, how often and why you are taking each one. It is also important to note whether or not you have medication allergies.
    • take all medications with you (in their original container), such as pills, inhalers, eye drops, patches, injections and creams.
    • include any over-the-counter products you use, such as vitamins and herbal products.
  • a family member or friend who can provide you with support and assist you, if necessary.

What can I do to protect myself in the emergency department?

You can protect yourself by:

  • Wearing a non-medical face mask
  • Not touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth) with unwashed hands.
  • Maintaining a physical distance of 2 meters (6 ft.) from other people.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains 60% - 80% alcohol.

For more measures, please visit New Normal: Public Health Guidance.

How long can I expect to wait in the emergency department?

A triage system is used to give priority to patients who require the most urgent care. Emergency patients are seen in order of priority and not time of arrival. This may cause some delay if you do not need urgent care. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may be asked to sit in the waiting room. Please be assured you will be seen as quickly as possible.

If you feel your condition has changed while waiting to be seen, please let the triage nurse know.

What will happen when I arrive at the emergency department?

COVID-19 Screening

You will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors when you arrive at the emergency department.

Note:  If you are experiencing mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms, please do NOT visit an Emergency Department. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, including new onset fever or worsening cough, sore throat, rhinitis (runny nose, sneezing or congestion) or market fatigue - you should call your family physician or nurse practitioner. If you do not have a family physician or nurse practitioner or are unable to reach them, call 8-1-1.

Depending on your screening assessment, you may be referred to a Cough and Fever Clinic.

Registration

A staff member will register you as a patient by asking:

  • your name, address, telephone number;
  • for your PEI Health Card, or provincial health card (if visiting from another province);
  • your family doctor's name;
  • if you stayed in a hospital outside of PEI within the last year;
  • if you have a known history of an antibiotic resistant organism – MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) or VRE (Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus); 
  • if you have had any recent falls within the last 3 to 6 months; and
  • for an emergency contact phone number.

Triage

A registered nurse will assess and prioritize your health condition based on your presenting symptoms. This is called triage. Emergency nurses are skilled at triage. All Canadian health care facilities use the same standard tool to determine the seriousness of a person’s illness and care for them appropriately.

  • Most urgent (Level 2) – having a potentially life-threatening condition and require emergency medical care.
    • For example: symptoms of a heart attack or stroke; not conscious; difficulty breathing; severe bleeding.
       
  • Urgent (Level 3) – having a health condition that has the potential to become serious.
    • For example:  head injury; deep cut or foreign object in eyes or ears; chest pain (not related to a known heart problem); signs of serious infection; urgent mental health concerns.
       
  • Less than urgent (Level 4 & 5) – having a non-life-threatening condition.
    • For example:  back, arm or leg pain; sore throat; ear infection; minor cuts or bumps; medication request.

The triage nurse will:

  • ask you questions about your symptoms;
  • measure your pulse, blood pressure, temperature and breathing;
  • take your weight;
  • ask you about any medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications and/or supplements;
  • ask you about any allergies you may have; and
  • take a urine sample, blood or perform an ECG, if required.

All of this information will be recorded and given to the health care team in charge of your care.

Waiting for Treatment

Depending on your triage level, you may be taken immediately to a treatment room or be asked to wait in the waiting room.

Sicker patients already in the emergency department, or sicker patients that arrive while you are waiting must receive care first. The length of time you wait is also affected by the number of patients who are in the emergency department.

While waiting, if you have questions or feel your condition has become worse, please let the triage nurse know right away.

What can I expect in the treatment area?

When you are brought into the treatment area, a member of the health care team will do a more thorough assessment of your condition. Depending on the severity of your condition, the emergency department physician in charge of your care will discuss your treatment options and make any follow-up arrangements, prescriptions or necessary referrals. You may also be referred to a consulting physician or a specialist who will decide whether or not you need to be admitted to hospital.

What if I leave before being treated?

Please do not leave without being seen by a physician. Should you decide to leave without being treated, please let the triage nurse know.

What if I don't speak English?

Language interpretation services are available if you do not speak English. This service is offered to newcomer, immigrant and francophone patients and families as clear communication is essential for effective health service. 

 

Published date: 
April 8, 2021
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If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department.

If you are unsure what to do about a health issue or if you need health information, call 8-1-1.

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