December 17, 2018

Know your holiday health care options 

The local health system is working together to provide residents with holiday health care tips, as well as information about their options should they need to seek health care between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Waterloo Wellington LHIN, hospitals, public health, emergency medical services, physicians and other health service providers are also planning for an increase in patient volumes that typically occurs during the holidays and winter months.

The Waterloo Wellington LHIN is recommending a number of holiday health tips to help residents stay healthy at this time of year:

  • Get the flu shot. It’s the best protection against the flu.
  • Wash your hands often to avoid getting sick.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow (not into your hands).
  • Make sure you have enough medicine and medical supplies on hand.
  • Do not visit someone in the hospital, long-term care or retirement home while you are sick.

If you or a family member needs health care in a non-emergency situation during the holidays, your first option should always be to contact your family doctor or nurse practitioner. As part of your holiday planning, check in with your regular health care providers to find out how to get care if you need it. If you cannot wait for an appointment with your family doctor, walk-in clinics and urgent care clinics can treat illnesses and injuries that do not require emergency care.

The hospital emergency department is where you should go if you have a medical emergency such as a serious illness or injury, broken bones, dizziness or pregnancy complications. You will need to plan to wait, if necessary, to get the care you need. Go with someone who can support you and bring your health care card, a complete list of medications, and a phone or contact list.

There are several other health care services available by phone any time of the day or night, 365 days a year:

  • Telehealth Ontario: Call 866‑797‑0000 for confidential advice from a registered nurse.
  • Ontario 211: Call 2‑1‑1 for connections to community and social services (available in over 150 languages).
  • Here 24/7: Call 844‑437‑4246 for mental health counseling, appointments and information about services.

Find the holiday hours for family health teams, walk-in clinics, urgent care clinics and pharmacies at


“We are committed to making it easier for residents to get the care they need anytime, including during the holidays. We’re proud of our local health system that is working together to help residents stay healthy, understand their health care options, and access the services they need this holiday season.” – Bruce Lauckner, CEO, Waterloo Wellington LHIN.


Over the past decade, the Waterloo Wellington LHIN has worked to significantly improve the quality and availability of local health care. Now, we’re focused on making it easier. Easier for you to be healthy. Easier for you to get the care and support you need. Easier for you and your family to live the healthiest lives possible.

We connect you with care, at home and in the community, and better connect your health system to improve your care experience. As a crown agency of the Government of Ontario, we invest $1.2 billion annually in local health services to improve the health and wellbeing of the almost 800,000 residents we serve across Waterloo Wellington.


Waterloo Wellington LHIN Surge Plan 2018-2019 can be found on our Planning for the Holidays page.

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