AHS Weekly Wellness News ~ Know Your Options: Where Should You Go for Health Care?

Did you know many Albertans who visit our emergency departments don’t have to be there? Often, people end up there because they don’t know what options they have for getting the care that best fits their needs.

Across the province there are lots of different options for health care, so many in fact that navigating the health system can be a challenge for the average Albertan. Knowing the options you have in your community will help you get the right care, at the right time, from the right health professional.

Some of the many health care options available for both treating illness and staying well include:

Family doctor – all Albertans are encouraged to have a regular and consistent family doctor to help manage their ongoing health care needs. If you don’t have a family doctor visit www.albertahealthservices.ca or call Health Link Alberta to find a doctor near you.

Primary Care Network (PCN) – in Alberta, most family doctors are part of a PCN. These groups of health professionals work together to coordinate your health care. Visit www.albertapci.ca for information on PCNs in your area.

Health Link Alberta (1-866-408-5465) – is available to all Albertans day or night, providing information and advice. If you have a health concern or you’re not sure where to go for help, you can speak to a registered nurse and other health professionals.

MyHealth.Alberta.ca – is Alberta’s single source of online health information. On this website you’ll find trustworthy, Alberta specific, health information and useful health tools – including a symptom checker.

Pharmacist – if you have questions about renewing prescriptions, medication concerns or minor condition symptoms, your local pharmacist may be able to help.

Community and public health facilities – offer services such as immunization clinics, prenatal classes, safe food handling courses, health promotion, disease and injury prevention programs and more.

Urgent care centres – are designed to help people who need treatment that day but don’t have a life threatening issue, urgent care centres provide extended hours for things like sprains and ear infections.

Emergency departments – are for those who are seriously ill or injured. Patients with potentially life-threatening conditions should immediately phone 911.

Knowing these options will help you get the very best care for you and your family. Remember, the emergency department is always available. Use it wisely.

(Alberta Health Services)