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Vancouver Coastal Health warns about the dangers of slips and falls this winter

As snow and ice blanket most of the province, Vancouver Coastal Health is warning seniors and other residents about the dangers of slipping and falling.

VCH data shows that seniors’ slips and falls on ice and snow led to increases in hospital admissions in colder holiday periods compared to milder ones.

“The numbers show us that cold, icy conditions lead to an increase in seniors’ injuries. We are encouraging our seniors to take important steps to maintain their health this winter, including reducing trip and slip hazards in the home, planning ahead to avoid rushing, and using shoes and boots that fit well and have non-slip soles,” said Dr. Kendall Ho, VCH emergency medical specialist. “The rest of us can help by checking in with our elderly family, friends and neighbors, and shoveling walks and driveways.”

VCH says slips and falls on snow and ice leading to hospital admissions in the Coastal Health region are also increased for people under 65 due to the colder season.

“Each and every year, our Winter Care advice never wavers – get the health care you need, without delay,” said Dr. Michael Schwandt, a medical health officer with Vancouver Coastal Health. “Even though winter can be a busy time of year, we want residents to be mindful of their health-care needs. Our hospitals, urgent primary care centres and community health centres are available to serve residents throughout the holiday and winter seasons.”

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Vancouver Coastal Health is launching its annual Winter Care campaign this year, aimed to ensure residents know where to go for the right care, prevent the flu and COVID-19, and stay healthy this holiday season.

For health advice, VCH recommends calling 811 to contact HealthLinkBC. The First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day and First Nations Virtual Substance Use and Psychiatry are available to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis families regardless of where you live in BC, from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

For health concerns that aren’t urgent, you can visit your doctor or nurse practitioner. If you don’t have one, you can visit a walk-in clinic, where virtual appointments may be available.

For a non-life threatening health concern you want help with on the same day, you’re encouraged to visit an Urgent and Primary Care center.

For critical and life-threatening conditions, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.

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