Taking those first crucial steps toward reliable healthcare info
When you have a health problem, you may actually have two problems: The first is your health, and second is deciding where to go and with whom to speak. Should you see a general practitioner or a specialist? If a G.P. seems appropriate, can you get an appointment soon? And if you opt for a specialist, what kind would be best?
Then there’s the hassle of finding your way in what may be a large and unfamiliar hospital, or figuring out which facility would be best to turn to in our restructured healthcare system. Where to start?
A good, first step is Info-Santé. If you’re not in an emergency situation, just call 8-1-1 and you’ll be connected to a nurse who can answer your questions, any time of day or night, seven days a week.
The nurse will help you determine whether you should see a doctor, what kinds of symptoms to look for, and which health service in your area is in the best position to assist you. Info-Santé can also recommend first aid—for instance, how to administer a rehydrating solution if you or your little one has stomach flu.
Not as well known, but equally supportive, is Info-Social. Once again, on all days and at all times, the number to call is 8-1-1 to reach a psychosocial professional who will listen to your concerns and steer you in the right direction.
If you need help with medication—for example, to renew a prescription, or to get a new prescription for a blood test or a non-serious condition—don’t forget how much your neighbourhood pharmacist can do for you. Since 2015, pharmacists have had wider leeway to assist their clients. More information is available from the Order of Pharmacists of Quebec.
For more about the healthcare network to which the Jewish General Hospital belongs, you can visit the website of the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montreal. For the network’s help in finding a family doctor, you can call a referral centre 514-731-8531, extension 5208—an initiative developed jointly by the Metro, Côte-des-Neiges, Parc-Extension, Benny Farm and René-Cassin CLSCs.
And don’t forget the JGH’s very own Patient & Family Resource Centre, in the Health Sciences Library on the second floor of Pavilion A (Côte-des-Neiges entrance), where staff and volunteers will be happy to demystify what lies ahead.
Some of the JGH’s medical departments, such as the Maternal-Child Unit and the Gynecologic Oncology team, have produced useful and authoritative materials about all sorts of conditions and illnesses. They can be viewed online via the PEN database on the home page of the Patient & Family Resource Centre. Start by clicking on the “Go” button, without typing anything in the search field. Then, in the left-hand menu, click on “JGH publication” and check the list under “Submitting Department” for the specialty that interests you.
And if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, you’ll find information on the wide array of services and programs offered by Hope & Cope.
Still a little unsure what to do first? Just contact the Patient & Family Resource Centre. There’s always somebody on hand who’d be happy to help you!