What to expect

Family presence

Providing treatment and care with as much privacy as possible in our busy environments is our top priority. For that reason, we may ask that patients be limited to one person inside the treatment area. For more information on the family presence policy, please see our visiting a patient page. 

The hospital must protect the privacy of all patients. We can only provide information about a patient's status as allowed under the law. Treatment and condition information about a patient cannot be shared with anyone without patients' expressed consent. 

If a patient is admitted and you wish to contact them or inquire about their status, please ask for 'patient locating" when contacting the hospital. If you have a family member that has been transported to the Emergency Department (ED) by ambulance, you can read more about how to locate them on our find a patient page.

Arriving at the ED

There are two ways that you or your loved one may arrive in the ED, either by walking in or by ambulance. We have outlined below what you can expect in both situations.

Walking in

  • Present yourself to the triage nurse with your health card ready. A quick assessment will take place to decide how quickly you will need to see a doctor. This is done using the Canadian Triage Acuity Scores (CTAS).
  • The registration clerk will update any important information in your file, including address, phone number, the name of your family doctor and the name of your emergency contact.
  • Depending on your symptoms, the nurse may begin some tests such as bloodwork right away.

Depending on the volume of patients in the ED and the severity of your condition, you will be:

  • Asked to take a seat in the waiting room until you are called into the ED.
  • Brought immediately into the department.


  • You will be placed on a stretcher to be assessed by ED staff.
  • You will be placed on an ambulance offload stretcher in a hallway, so that your ambulance can leave the hospital to be available again in the community.
  • You may be asked to go to the waiting room to be triaged.

What happens next?

Once you are assigned a bed or area in the ED, the following will take place:

  1. You will be assessed by a nurse practitioner and/or doctor
  2. A care plan will be developed
  3. Treatments and/or tests will be ordered
  4. The doctor will then determine (based on the above info):
  • if further testing is required
  • if you require assessment by a consulting service
  • if you can be discharged home

Areas of the ED

Once you are triaged, you will be assigned a 'section' or area in the department. This again depends on the type of care you require. This assignment helps staff know how serious your condition is, and what they can expect as part of your treatment.

The five sections in the ED are:

Section A: This area is for resuscitation and trauma patients.

Section B: This is a fast-track area for patients.

Section C: This is the sub-acute assessment area. (For example, for patients waiting to see a specialist or an admitted patient waiting for a bed elsewhere in the hospital.)

Section D: This is the acute assessment area and contains a Rapid Assessment Zone. This means an initial assessment will occur on a stretcher and then you will be transferred to a chair. This helps the doctor see you sooner.

Section E: This is a small area with three single rooms for interviews and assessments. This area is not usually used for typical patient care.