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The ER department provides 24/7 care for patients experiencing a wide range of illnesses or injuries. The cases treated in the department range from minor to life-threatening, and patients are triaged based on the severity of their illnesses. The Emergency Department is staffed by specially trained emergency physicians, nurses and allied health professionals. Blanche River Health is affiliated with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Laurentian University, Cambrian College and Collège Boréal. During your visit, you will be seen by a team of health care professionals, some of which may be in training. Individuals in training will identify themselves to you as learners or medical residents.

An emergency is a life-threatening illness or injury. If you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 right away. While not a complete list, the following can best be handled in the Emergency Department (ED)

  • Trouble breathing 
  • Bleeding that won’t stop 
  • Chest pain or pressure 
  • Broken bones 
  • Partial or total amputation of a limb 
  • Traumas or injuries to the head 
  • Deep cuts or wounds 
  • Severe burns 
  • Severe pain 
  • Poisoning 
  • Loss of consciousness – unable to wake 
  • Sudden headaches, dizziness, weakness, numbness, trouble seeing or speaking 
  • Mental health issues 
  • Severely ill or injured children 
  • Obstetrical emergencies (labour & delivery) 

Are visitors allowed in the emergency treatment area?

Patients in the Emergency Department may be allowed one visitor at a time. Pediatric patients (under the age of 18) may have up to two visitors at a time. Visitors are restricted to immediate family only.

The nurse may permit more than one visitor to patients based on circumstances such as:

  • Critically ill patient 
  • Children under age of 18 
  • Palliative care 
  • Compassionate reasons 
  • Patient with physical limitations or is cognitively impaired 
  • Language barriers 

Visitors and patients must remain inside the treatment rooms. If a visitor leaves the bedside (for example, to step outside), he or she must wait until Emergency Department Staff are available to allow them back into the department.  

The nurse may ask a visitor to leave for a brief time for clinical assessments, procedures, treatments or other circumstances. 

What to expect?

Upon your arrival in the Emergency Department, you will be triaged by a registered nurse. Every effort will be made to assess you within fifteen minutes of your arrival. The triaging nurse will take a history of your complaint, assess your vital signs and review medications you may be taking.  

When you arrive, please bring your Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card, a list of medications, a list of allergies and any records you may have pertaining to your health.  

If your case is urgent, you will be sent directly to a treatment room. If your case is less urgent, you will be asked to register yourself at Central Registry and will be directed to the appropriate waiting area. 

If your condition worsens, please notify the triage nurse immediately. 

Wait Times 

Every effort is made to see patients in a timely fashion. Please note, the Emergency Department does not operate on a first come, first serve basis. All patients are assigned a Canadian Triage Acuity Scale score based on the conditions they are presenting with. Patients are seen based on the severity of their condition as identified through the triage score.  

The time that you may wait in the Emergency Department can vary depending on whether you require diagnostic tests and whether a specialist needs to be consulted.  

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