Urgent care units at Cowichan-based health centres offer care close to home

Cowichan Valley residents who need same day medical treatment for urgent and chronic medical conditions are benefitting from urgent care units located at the Chemainus Health Care Centre and the Ladysmith Community Health Centre.

Open 365 days a year from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., the urgent care units treat patients requiring urgent medical care for injuries and conditions such as sudden shortness of breath, asthma attacks, most broken bones and dislocations, lacerations and wounds, infections, allergic reactions, nose bleeds, objects in eyes, abscess drainage and minor illness and injury in babies and children. 

The units are also suitable for people with chronic conditions who are having difficulty managing their illness. Chemainus resident and migraine sufferer Joy Camp is glad to have the urgent care unit close to home. Without it, she’d likely have to travel to a local emergency department for treatment at the onset of a painful migraine headache. 

“I’ve definitely gotten to know the staff to the point where I bring them baked goods,” Camp says with a chuckle. “They just treat me so well and they are so kind. They’ve gotten to know me and my symptoms. It’s very comforting.”

Developing those patient – caregiver relationships is also helpful for staff in that it often enhances the continuity of care. At the Chemainus urgent care unit, some patients, including Camp, have care plans that allow caregivers to follow their patients through severe or sudden episodes of their long-term illnesses.

“We tend to see some people over and over and try to serve them in their community rather than send them off to another facility in Duncan or Nanaimo,” says Dr. Murray Archdekin, Physician, Chemainus Urgent Care Unit. “And, because we provide care close to home,  we can prevent admissions to hospital, avoid long wait times at other emergency rooms and provide services to people who are elderly and frail and for whom travel is difficult.”

Both urgent care units are integral to the network of care in the Cowichan area by providing another option for patients. Because some people are unable to quickly see their regular doctor or access walk-in clinics for mild to moderate urgency medical issues, urgent care also helps to relieve pressure on local emergency departments by reducing emergency visits. 

For serious medical emergencies, patients should call 9-1-1 or make their way to Cowichan District Hospital’s emergency department.  Serious conditions that require immediate medical attention include chest pain, stroke, major trauma or injury, major psychiatric illness, head injury with loss of consciousness, maternity or obstetric issues, someone who is unwell and on dialysis, or poisoning and overdose. 

“The majority of our patients don’t have to travel for care. We treat them very efficiently and get them out and enjoying their quality of life again,” says Gina Boudot, RN, Chemainus Urgent Care Unit. “Because we have lab and x-ray right here, they can present at urgent care and receive the follow-up they need in a timely fashion. We also have amazing staff who work well together and are incredibly supportive of each other and our patients.”

It’s a service that Joy Camp appreciates, especially because she lives within five minutes from the Chemainus Health Care Centre’s urgent care unit.

“My waits here tend to be shorter than at larger emergency departments which means I can quickly be seen, receive treatment and go home and look after myself. I’m glad it’s here.”


Cowichan media inquiries

Cheryl Bloxham