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SJHH / Health Services/ Emergency Services/ Emergency Department, Charlton Campus

Emergency Department, Charlton Campus

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What this department does...

The department provides emergency care for patients of all ages. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s Charlton Campus has the busiest emergency department in Hamilton, with greater than 60,000 Emergency Room visits per year. It is also the regional Emergency Psychiatric Service.  We are dedicated to providing the best care for patients, and our professionals are available to care for the needs of infants, children, and adults at any time.

The ED acts as the front door for the acute care phase along the continuum of care. Most patients who receive care in the Emergency Department are discharged home, however if patients require further care they may be admitted to the hospital.

Emergency Psychiatry Team – Located adjacent to the Emergency Department, this is an area within the emergency department where psychiatry staff work collaboratively with the ER staff to support and care for patients in crisis.

A unique interrelationship with the Mental Health and Addiction Program has allowed us to model the concept of Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) located in the emergency department.

How this department helps...

The Emergency Department provides early access to care to patients from a widespread area extending from the Haldimand Norfolk region to the Niagara Peninsula. We are committed to serving the most marginalized and needy members of our community.

The following are examples of conditions commonly seen in our Emergency Department:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Broken bones
  • Severe bleeding or lacerations
  • Muscular injuries, strains and sprains
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness or vision problems

Patients will be placed in one of four care areas within the department according to their specific needs.

The Emergency Department has undertaken various initiatives to meet and exceed Ministry of Health & Long Term Care (MOHLTC) benchmarks for wait times. An example of process improvement developed by our Emergency Department Team is the Initial Assessment Process, where two Emergency Physicians are working in the Department simultaneously, where one physician is responsible for rapidly assessing patients in order to expedite the ordering of tests and start treatment.  The overarching principle is to provide timely, high quality patient care with a focus on the rapid determination and management of the patient’s needs.

Many patients are able to go home after this initial assessment. This program is in place at the busiest times of the day, between 11am and 9pm. This new program has decreased the time patients wait to see a physician, and fewer people leave the Emergency Department without being seen by a physician.

Your Care Team

Your care team may include a number of healthcare providers:

  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Physician Assistants
  • Social Workers
  • Pharmacists
  • Physiotherapist
  • Community Care Access Center Care Coordinator

All nurses and physicians who work in the Emergency Department have specialized training in emergency medicine.

St. Joseph's is also a teaching centre. This means you may have a student involved in your care under the direction of the health care team. We welcome all students in all health care programs. 

Residents are doctors training to be emergency medicine specialists. Medical students may also be involved. Residents and medical students may observe or take part in your care depending on their level and ability. They are always closely monitored by the staff doctors.

Referral Process

Every patient who arrives at the Emergency Department will have their healthcare needs addressed and may be transferred to the most appropriate healthcare facility if necessary.

Preparing for Your Visit

Please bring with you:

  1. Ontario Health Insurance (OHIP) card
  2. All medications you normally take during the day
  3. Money for parking
  4. A person who can translate for you if you do not speak English well

We ask that you do not bring any valuables with you as the hospital cannot be responsible for lost or stolen personal items. 

Registration Procedures

When you arrive:

  • Clean your hands with the pump provided and take a number
  • Put on a mask if you have a cough
  • Take a number
  • Listen for your number to be called to the triage desk
  • A nurse will call you to perform an initial assessment and register you
  • Register at the registration desk when called. Be prepared to show your Ontario Health card
  • After registering, you will be shown where to wait for the next step of your visit

After Your Visit

Any follow up required after your Emergency Department visit will be documented in your Emergency Department Passport to Care.

The care team will make a referral to the Community Care Access Center for home care support as needed.