Choose the Right Place for the Right Care
Choosing the right place for the right care can positively impact your health, improve the work experiences of care teams, and allow the overall health system to function at its best. At the bottom of this page, we encourage you to read about some of the people working in the specialty of Urgent and Emergency Care and a few of the patients who have benefited from their skills.
There are many different health services available in our community to help you. The list below provides recommendations on going to the right place for the right care.
We understand that sometimes Urgent and Emergency Care settings are your last resort, and we will be here for you, but whenever possible, please seek care at the right place from the right health-care provider.
- Your family doctor knows your medical history best. Same-day urgent appointments may be available.
- Your family doctor may be a member of one of the following Family Health Teams, giving you access to an on-call doctor who provides urgent, but non-life-threatening care without an appointment after hours and on weekends: Kingston Family Health Team, Maple Family Health Team and Queen's Family Health Team.
- If you’re looking for cancer screening services, such as screening for breast, colorectal, cervical or lung cancer, visit Cancer Care Ontario.
- Check the hours of operation and visit a medical clinic, such as CDK and Good Doctors. Same-day care may be available.
- Visit a virtual care clinic at Cover Heath (OHIP-covered), RocketDoctor.ca, TiaHealth.com, Telus Health MyCare, or MD Connected (access may be limited and fees may apply)
- Queen's University students can call 613.533.2506 to attend the Student Wellness Services same-day clinic
- St. Lawrence College students can call 613.544.5400, ext. 5521 or email HealthCentreK@sl.on.ca to attend the Kingston Campus Health Centre
Starting January 1, 2023, pharmacists will be able to offer prescriptions for: hay fever (allergic rhinitis), oral thrush (candidal stomatitis), pink eye (conjunctivitis: bacterial, allergic and viral), dermatitis (atopic, eczema, allergic and contact), menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)), hemorrhoids, cold sores (herpes labialis), impetigo, insect bites and hives, tick bites (post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent Lyme disease), sprains and strains (musculoskeletal), and urinary tract infections.
Before visiting a pharmacy, contact the pharmacist to confirm they provide prescribing services for certain common ailments.
You may also contact your pharmacist for minor issues that might be managed with over-the-counter medications.
It’s important to your overall, long-term health to have a family doctor. Invest in your health. People who have family doctors are generally healthier. Here are two options to find a family doctor or nurse practitioner who is accepting new patients:
- Register to get connected with a primary-care provider by visiting Health Care Connect online at Ontario.ca/healthcareconnect or by calling 1-800-445-1822.
- Use The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s Find a Doctor search.
- Choose “Advanced Search” to find a doctor near you (by city/town or postal code)
- Click on “Additional Search Options” to narrow your search (to family doctors and/or language spoken)
- Contact the doctor to check if they are accepting new patients
- Call your family doctor.
- Your pharmacist may be able to provide an emergency refill of your prescription, including medications for chronic conditions.
- Call a Crisis Line available 24/7, 365 days a year. For Kingston and Frontenac call 613.544.4229 or 1-866-616-6005 (toll-free). For Lennox and Addington call 613.354.7388 or 1-800-267-7877 (toll-free).
- Walk-in crisis services are available from Addiction and Mental Health Services - KFLA, with no need to book an appointment, in Kingston and Napanee Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- If you are not experiencing a crisis, call your family doctor.
- See below for when to call 9-1-1.
- Call 2-1-1 or visit 211ontario.ca
- This helpline is available 24/7 to connect you to information and support for a wide range of community, social, health and government services in 150+ languages.
- Resources related to food, housing, employment, financial assistance, caregiver support, family services and more.
- Call 613-548-9400 ext. 429, visit FrontenacParamedics.ca or ask your doctor about the Frontenac Paramedics' Community Paramedicine program.
- The program offers home visits to vulnerable residents and preventative health clinics for common conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, COPD and risk of falls, reducing demand for urgent or emergency care.
- When you are unable to get a same-day appointment with a family doctor and your concern needs to be addressed within 24 hours, such as minor broken bones and burns, and cuts needing stitches, check the hours of operation and go to the nearest urgent care centre (UCC).
- Kingston Health Sciences Centre's (KHSC) UCC is located at its Hotel Dieu Hospital (HDH) site at 144 Brock Street in Kingston.
- The Children's Outpatient Urgent Care Clinic is also located at the HDH site at 166 Brock Street on Jeanne Mance 1.
- Call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department (ED).
- If a person could die or be permanently disabled, it is an emergency.
- In Kingston, the ED is located at KHSC's Kingston General Hospital site at 41 King Street West.
- Emergency departments are not the place to go for minor illnesses or injuries. Please use your ED wisely.
In the right place to get the right care
Mike Laughlin's life has been saved two times by KHSC care teams. Two motor-vehicle accidents (one from blizzard conditions and the other from a collision with a deer) brought Mike to the KHSC Emergency Department fighting for his life, broken leg and arm, broken back, broken neck. "I don’t feel sorry for myself, even when complications from my injuries send me back to the hospital. I never take it for granted that the hospital is there for me when I need it. And that trust and confidence in their ability to get me back on my feet never go away."
Recognizing the signs of stroke and calling 9-1-1 right away led to life-saving treatment for Doug Duffy, a Belleville resident, who after a brief stop at the Belleville General Hospital for assessment and the clot-busting drug tPA, was brought to KHSC's Emergency Department (ED) by the Hastings Quinte Paramedic Services ambulance. From the ED, Doug went on to the interventional radiology suite where he was given Endovascular Treatment (EVT) to remove the stroke-causing clots from his brain. KHSC is one of 11 EVT centres in Ontario. "I'm back to 100 per cent thanks to the stroke teams and the paramedics. I thank every last one of you for saving the quality of my life."
Sharp pain in your belly, nausea and vomiting are a few of the signs of gallbladder problems. Herbert Rae was experiencing severe symptoms caused by gallstones — small stones that form in the gallbladder and can block the flow of bile and irritate the gallbladder — when he made his way to KHSC's Emergency Department (ED). Turns out he needed emergency surgery to remove his gallbladder. As a way to keep Herbert from returning to the ED unnecessarily after his surgery and after he had returned home, he was monitored remotely by KHSC nurses using virtual care technology.
Almost eight years after Reid Gladman was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy, the type for which doctors cannot pinpoint an apparent cause, he ended up in KHSC's Emergency Department because he experienced the worst seizure he has ever had. An MRI was ordered and it showed a non-cancerous brain tumor. This new information meant there was a possibility of treating the seizures in a different way, other than anti-seizure drugs, which had stopped working for him. Under the care of the multidisciplinary team at KHSC's District Epilepsy Centre, Reid made the decision to have surgery to remove the tumor and has been seizure-free.
A snapshot of the people who provide Urgent and Emergency Care
As the head of KHSC's trauma service, Dr. Chris Evans is no stranger to traumatic injuries and the long-lasting impacts they can have on patients and families. He led a study that showed major traumatic injury increases the risk of mental health disorders and suicide. Every year, the number of serious injuries increases across Ontario between the May long weekend through to the Labour Day weekend, when the weather is warmer and more people are out on the roads, lakes and trails. As the regional trauma centre for southeastern Ontario, many patients throughout the region are taken by ambulance directly to KHSC for specialized care. On average, KHSC's trauma service provides care to more than 350 people annually.
[Pre-pandemic photo] If a person or unborn baby could die or be permanently disabled, from a physical or mental health condition, it is an emergency. Mental Health Nurse Navigator Richard Cook (right) works with other members of the Emergency Department (ED) team such as Social Worker Sarina Cormier (left), ED physicians, psychiatrists and on-site crisis service to speed up treatment and reduce wait times for patients experiencing mental health emergencies. The result of this teamwork is care plans, which can range from medication adjustment to outpatient or community referrals to admission to hospital, that are initiated as fast as possible. Read more.
Nurse Curtis Gray says the biggest thing he can give to people is a moment of my time. "It is not uncommon for people to be frustrated or act out of character while in the Urgent Care Centre (UCC) due to their stress. Actively listening to the concerns patients have when they are in a vulnerable place goes a long way. The UCC is a fast-paced, high-patient-turnover environment where patients are not usually known to the health-care providers and it's possible to encounter a wide range of health concerns. "It's important to take our work one step at a time. Going into all situations with new perspectives from everyone on the team leads to great outcomes for patients."
[Pre-pandemic photo] “Many people might think it’s the lights, drama, things you see on TV that make working in Emergency Medicine exciting, but it’s really the interactions that we have with our patients and families that are most meaningful and purposeful in this work. It is a real privilege to help add comfort in their moments of illness, not just through the medical care necessarily, but by hearing their stories and building a connection,” says Dr. Damon Dagnone. Connections like the one he made with a patient who arrived at the Emergency Department by ambulance after being hit by a car while riding her bike. Unable to ride in a cycling fundraiser for Kingston hospitals after her accident, Dr. Dagnone, a fellow cyclist, offered to take her place and rode for her.