St. Paul’s Hospital has one of the busiest emergency departments in the province, providing care for a wide range of patients, including some of the most vulnerable and marginalized populations.
Open 24-hours-a-day, St. Paul’s Hospital Emergency Department provides emergency care for anyone living in Vancouver’s downtown core or coming to the area for work or pleasure. We specialize in caring for patients with complex health problems that require the skills of our medical and surgical specialists. St. Paul’s does not have a children’s inpatient unit, but emergency staff have the expertise to treat pediatric problems.
When to Go to Emergency
Use good judgement in deciding when to use emergency medical services. If you feel you can apply home treatment safely and wait to see your regular doctor, do so. However, if you believe your situation requires urgent care, go to the Emergency Department. If you are not certain — GO TO THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT.
For Urgent Care
Call 911 or visit St. Paul’s Hospital (or your nearest hospital emergency department) if you have:
- Discomfort or tightness in the chest.
- More than usual shortness of breath.
- Abdominal pain.
- Prolonged and persistent or sudden onset headache.
- An injury that may require stitches or may involve a broken bone.
Or if you are experiencing:
- A major crisis and as a result feel helpless, hopeless and have nowhere to turn.
- Any of the following: confusion, agitation, unconsciousness, severe allergic reaction, swelling of the tongue, lips or throat, severe pain, irregular heartbeat, seizure, paralysis, weakness or loss of sensation, severe vomiting, dehydration, vomiting blood, blood or black color in the stool, overdose, etc.
What to Expect in an Emergency
Once you arrive, a triage nurse will assess your condition and an admitting clerk will take your information. Please have your British Columbia CareCard ready. The most serious cases are seen immediately, and most emergency patients receive care within 30 minutes. You may be required to wait longer, as patients in the Emergency Department are seen based on the seriousness of their illness or injury and not on the time of arrival. Less urgent cases are monitored by the triage nurse and treated appropriately if their condition worsens.
For Non-Urgent Care
For non-urgent care, see your family physician or visit a local walk-in clinic. If you don’t have a family doctor, go to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC for a list of doctors accepting new patients.
For Non-Emergency Illnesses
Call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 for 24-hour access to non-emergency health information and services. Speak with a nurse about your symptoms, consult with a pharmacist about your medication questions or get healthy eating advice from a dietitian. You can also find the health services and resources you need, closest to you. Keep a copy of the BC HealthGuide Handbook at home or visit HealthLink BC for more health information.
Geriatric Emergency Nurses
Geriatric emergency nurses (GEN) are skilled ER nurses with added knowledge of gerontology and community supports, that can be consulted for Emergency Department patients. Their primary goal is to work with the emergency department team to enhance care of patients 70 years of age and older. The GEN facilitates early recognition of geriatric issues, care coordination and appropriate patient disposition.
Emergency Program at Providence Health Care
For more in depth information about our Emergency Program and Services at Providence Health Care, including information for academics, researchers and clinical staff, visit our Emergency Program and Services page.
St. Paul’s Hospital
Burrard Building, 1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Hours of operation: 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week
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