Written by Megan White, Senior Consultant, Communications and Public Affairs

We're launching an awareness campaign to help the public understand the reasons behind ER wait times and how to deal with non-emergencies over the winter months.

We know our operations teams are working hard to prepare for our busy winter months ahead. To support your efforts, over the next few months, the Communications and Public Affairs team will run several social media campaigns to improve public understanding of how to “use the ER wisely” and to build public awareness of other options to consider before seeking care in the emergency department.

The messaging will be adapted in the lead up to the holidays: October will focus on demystifying emergency room wait times; November will highlight unwise uses of the ER; and December will focus on how to use the ER wisely, particularly over the holidays when many doctors’ offices are closed.

The Use the ER Wisely campaign originally launched in December 2015 as a partnership between Fraser Health, Peace Arch Hospital and the White Rock South Surrey Division of Family Practice. This social media campaign continues to be one of the top campaigns we run, shared by both staff and public audiences alike.

The Right Care Right Place/ Use the ER Wisely project recently received an Above and Beyond Award for the results shown in reducing non-urgent visits to Peace Arch Hospital. After experiencing these great results, it has since spread to Chilliwack, Mission, Hope and Delta with plans to roll out in Surrey and other sites. A toolkit is available for other Divisions and hospitals interested in joining.

Help spread the message

Face-to-face communication is typically best when it comes to sharing information; therefore, if you are interacting with patients and families waiting in the ER, try to keep them informed about why they are waiting. While it won’t speed things up, keeping people informed may increase their patience and help improve their understanding of how the emergency department works.

And, even if you are not in contact with ER patients, all Fraser Health employees, physicians, volunteers and friends can help spread the word by following Fraser Health on Facebook and/or Twitter and sharing our messages with your networks.

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