Frequently asked questions

Our urgent care services are available to adults, children and residents of long-term care homes in Ontario. To find out more about each of our urgentcareontario.ca services, please read the following frequently asked questions.

I’m an adult in need of care

Can I book an appointment for someone else?

Yes, with their permission, you can help another adult book an appointment by filling out the person’s information in the request form online.

Can I participate in their appointment?

Yes, with their permission, you can help another adult connect to their appointment. With the patient’s permission you can participate in the virtual appointment in the same way you would for an in-person appointment.

What if I don’t have access to the technology required?

If you do not have access to the technology required for a virtual visit, it remains safe to visit the emergency department or urgent care centre in person.

How will my privacy be protected?

Emergency physicians will provide the virtual appointments through a secure version of Zoom video chat that is integrated with Dovetale, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s digital health information solution. All activity in Dovetale is monitored for appropriate use. Care team members at St. Joe’s have completed mandatory privacy training to use Dovetale.

Patients are encouraged to connect to their virtual appointment in a quiet, secure space where they’re comfortable engaging in an honest discussion about their care.

While St. Joe’s takes all reasonable steps to ensure the ongoing privacy and security of virtual care sessions, there are inherent privacy and security risks that personal health information may be intercepted or unintentionally disclosed during electronic communications or virtual care visits. St. Joe’s virtual care sessions are not recorded, but they will be documented in your electronic health record.

If you have questions or concerns regarding the privacy of your personal health information, please contact the SJHH Privacy Office at:  905-522-1155 ext 32875 or by email: privacy@stjoes.ca.

Additional information can be found here link to more information

What are potential outcomes of my visit?

During the virtual visit, the physician will assess you and determine next steps, which could include:

  • Diagnosing your medical issue and prescribing treatment. The physician can prescribe new medications during the visit if required but cannot provide a regular refill of a medication you have already been prescribed.
  • Seeking care in the community, which could include follow up with your family physician or an urgent care centre. In the event that a new and urgent referral is required, this could be facilitated.
  • Coming to emergency department on your own for further assessment. You will still need to register at the emergency department with your health card and go through the usual triage process upon arrival.
  • In very rare circumstances, the physician may instruct you to call 911 or direct emergency medical services to your address.

Is technical support available if I am having trouble accessing the virtual visit?

If you are have trouble accessing your visit please call to speak directly with a member of our team. The care team can provide basic technical support during the visit as well. Click here for a tip sheet on how to use Zoom to access your appointment.

I’m the parent of a child/youth

What types of conditions might be better suited to an in-person visit to the emergency department?

If your child/youth demonstrates YES to any of the following conditions, your child may be better served with an in-person visit to an emergency department.

  • Your child/youth has an acute mental health emergency. Consider calling a local help line in your specific area.

Your child/youth has a fever AND any ONE of the following:

  • Is less than 3 months old
  • Has an immune system problem
  • Has a complex health problem
  • Is very difficult to wake up even when the fever is treated
  • Your child/youth has continuous wheeze, difficulty talking or feeling very short of breath.

Your child/youth has vomiting or diarrhea AND any ONE of the following:

  • Is less than 3 months old
  • Has repeated vomiting (more than 3 times) and unable to keep liquids down
  • Vomit or diarrhea contains blood
  • Has concern about dehydration with no urine in more than 8 hours

Your child/youth has headache AND any ONE of the following:

  • New onset of severe headache
  • Headache associated with repeated vomiting
  • Worsening headache following recent head injury
  • Headache not improving after giving usual medications/over the counter medications
  • Your youth/child has a urinary problem with bloody or tea-coloured urine OR associated back pain.

Your child/youth has an injury AND any ONE of the following:

  • Head injury where there was a loss of consciousness (passing out), confusion or repeated vomiting (more than 3 times)
  • Burn with blisters that are larger than a loonie
  • Injury with difficulty moving the arm/leg and swelling
  • Eye injury
  • Injury causing chest or stomach pain
  • Your child/youth has a fever with a rash that looks like tiny or expanding bruises.
  • Your child/youth has had an intentional or unintentional ingestion of a medication or substance. If so, contact the Ontario Poison Centre at 1-800-268-9017 and follow instructions.

How does my appointment get set up?

Parents seeking a virtual appointment for their child complete and submit the electronic appointment request form, ideally during open hours of operation. Clinical administration staff at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre will contact you at the phone number provided to confirm your request and set up your appointment. They will then send you an email invitation to join a Cisco Webex Meetings video conference.

  • This invitation includes instructions on how to download the Webex software on your smartphone or computer, and information on what to expect during the appointment.
  • When you join the Webex meeting, you’ll be placed in a private virtual waiting room.
  • A children’s emergency doctor will consult with patients/parents on a first-come, first-serve basis.

What if I don’t have access to the technology required?

If you don’t have access to the technology required for a virtual appointment, it remains safe to visit the nearest emergency department or urgent care centre in person.

What are potential outcomes of my visit?

During the virtual appointment, the children’s emergency doctor will assess your child and determine next steps, which could include:

  • Diagnosing your child’s medical issue and prescribing treatment. The doctor can prescribe new medications during the appointment if required. They can’t provide a regular refill of a medication already prescribed.
  • Seeking care in your community, which could include follow up with your family doctor or an urgent care centre. If a new and urgent referral is required, this could be facilitated.
  • Going to your local emergency department in-person with your child for further assessment. You’ll still need to register at the emergency department with your child’s health card and go through the usual triage process at arrival.
  • In very rare circumstances, the children’s emergency doctor may tell you to call 911 or direct emergency medical services to your address.

Is technical support available if I am having trouble accessing the virtual visit?

If you have trouble accessing your appointment, call to speak directly with a member of our care team. We can provide basic technical support during the appointment as well. Information about how to Install Webex app on your smartphone.

How will my child’s privacy be protected? 

Children’s emergency doctors provide virtual appointments through a customized version of Webex Meetings video conference. All activity is monitored for appropriate use. Care team members at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre have completed mandatory privacy training. 

While Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre takes all reasonable steps to ensure the ongoing privacy and security of virtual care sessions, there are inherent privacy and security risks that personal health information may be intercepted or unintentionally disclosed during electronic communications or virtual care appointments. Children’s Hospital, London Health Science Centre emergency virtual clinic sessions are not recorded, but they will be documented in the child’s electronic health record. 

We do our best to make sure any information you give to us during virtual care appointments is private and secure. To help us keep your information safe and secure: 

  • Connect to your virtual appointment in a quiet, secure space where you’re comfortable engaging in an honest discussion about the child’s care.
  • Use a private computer/device (not an employer’s or third party’s computer/device) and a secure internet connection. For example, using a personal computer or tablet is more secure than at a library, and your access to the internet on your home network will generally be more secure than an open guest WiFi connection.

Additional information can be found on the London Health Sciences Centre public website virtual care privacy and confidentiality  page.  

If you have questions about the privacy of your child’s personal health information, contact the London Health Sciences Centre Privacy Office at 519-685-8500 ext. 32996, or email privacy@lhsc.on.ca 

Information about our overall privacy program can be found on the London Health Sciences Centre public website.  

I’m a long-term care home resident or resident of another congregate care setting*, such as a retirement home

What happens after my family doctor or nurse practitioner consults the emergency department doctor remotely?

An individualized care plan will be developed with you/your family. This plan may require arrangement of tests, procedures, follow-up appointments, or specialist consultations. Many of these appointments can be done remotely in the comfort of your home. Some tests, procedures or consultations may require in-person follow-up. These appointments will be scheduled for you.

Can a resident or their family member contact the LTC-CARES emergency department doctor directly?

If you think you or your loved one would benefit from an urgent consult with an emergency department doctor, please speak with your family doctor, nurse practitioner or the director of care at your home.

I am a health care provider, how can I find out more about this program?

For more information about this program, health care providers may visit our provider page.

How will my privacy be protected?

Your privacy is very important to us. We protect your privacy during remote visits in the same way as we do during a clinic visit.

This means:

  • Only the people providing care to you will be present during your consultation
  • Discussion during the consultation will be documented in your health record, just like an in-person appointment would be
  • We recommend all providers and residents take steps to protect privacy, such as being aware of surroundings and who may be able to overhear a remote consultation conversation

In order to protect your privacy, video conferencing platforms have been reviewed by Privacy and Information Security teams. Precautions are in-place to reduce risks associated with email correspondence with the goal of keeping your health information as safe and secure as possible.

This means:

  • Telephone calls and videoconferencing are not recorded or kept by OTN or Zoom Healthcare after your consultation is complete
  • A secure internet connection is used
  • Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton do not assume responsibility for the privacy and information security of other healthcare providers

*Model for congregate settings such as retirement homes under development.