Planning Ahead for Holidays

Know where to go

Be prepared when you need health care services during statutory holidays

At times, many health providers including doctors’ offices, walk-in clinics and even pharmacies operate at reduced hours, especially during holidays. Seeking health care during such times can become a frustrating experience. We have some tips to help you prepare for these instances and assist you in locating the best alternative options, so you know where to go for the right care.

Know when to seek immediate medical attention

If you need urgent medical attention, for example, you have shortness of breath, severe chest pain or stroke symptoms, even if you are uncertain, always call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.

Did you know?
You can also find services close to home by searching your local Healthline.

Plan ahead

  • Make sure you have a two-week supply of inhalers, oxygen, needles, glucose testing supplies or any other equipment you will require to manage your health and wellness.
  • Don’t forget to also check to see that you have enough prescription, non-prescription medication and supplies to last you and your family. If you can, stock up on what you’ll need ahead of time.
  • Talk about your health care needs with your care team before any upcoming holidays. Know who is available to support you and how to reach them.
  • Schedule any needed medical appointments before the holidays. Some offices may be closed or have shorter hours, so make sure your appointments are booked in advance.
  • Update your list of emergency contacts and post them in a visible place, like on the fridge. Remember to add Health811 (formerly Telehealth Ontario) at 1-866-797-0000 (TTY: 1-866-797-0007) for free, confidential, 24-hour access to a registered nurse who will help you with health-related questions.
  • Health811 also provides the option to use a secure chat – day or night. Send an instant message to a registered nurse and get answers to health-related questions or concerns by using the Health811 online chat. (opens in a new tab)

Talk to your pharmacist

Pharmacists can assess and prescribe medication for common ailments (opens in a new tab)  like pink eye, seasonal allergies and skin rashes. They can also extend certain prescriptions for chronic conditions until your next doctors’ appointment.

Avoid trips to your local emergency department when possible

If your doctor or nurse practitioners’ office is closed, find alternatives such as walk-in clinics and urgent care. Use to access a list of clinics and urgent care centers in your community.

Search your local Healthline to access supports close to home

Healthline is an innovative website that puts accurate and up-to-date information about health services at your fingertips. This website provides easy access to a reliable source of data and empowers you to find the services you need close to home. Thousands of service listings describe organizations and programs serving people in your area and across the province.

Learn how to navigate this easy-to-use online database in this demonstration video.