Going to the emergency room

For an urgent health problem, the emergency is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you have a non-emergency health problem, you can contact Info-Santé by calling 8-1-1, CLSC, your GMF or your doctor, before going to the emergency.

Find the emergency closest to you


  • Arrival in the emergency room
  • How is priority determined?
  • Why can the wait be longer?

Upon your arrival, you will meet a nurse to assess your health and the degree of urgency of your case. You will then pass to the registration step. Make sure you have your medical insurance card, your hospital card, and your medication list on hand.

The nurse evaluates each person’s condition using a scale. This is the same scale everywhere in Quebec.

This scale comprises five levels of priority:


  • Immediate care by the doctor and nurse
  • A situation that threatens life or survival


  • Medical condition that requires immediate assessment of the nurse and prompt care by the doctor
  • A situation that, without intervention, could be complicated

Level 3 – URGENT

  • Immediate evaluation by the nurse
  • A situation that necessitates short-term intervention


  • State of health that requires the intervention or advice of a doctor
  • The patient can wait some time without risk to their health

Level 5 – NON-URGENT

  • State of health where investigation may be delayed without risk or immediate deterioration
  • The patient wishes to receive a service from a non-appointment medical clinic

Depending on the severity of the problem, a person arriving after you maybe called before you to meet the doctor. Their situation may require quicker intervention.

There are also major emergencies that can affect activities. For example, a cardiac arrest patient can mobilize an entire team for several minutes, even up to several hours.

People using the ambulance service are prioritized in the same way. If their condition is not considered urgent, they may be directed to the waiting room and viewed according to the level of priority judged in triage.

In case of discomfort while waiting or a change in your state of health, immediately notify a staff member (nurse, receptionist, doctor, medical resident, etc.).

This translation is made possible through the contribution from the English Community Organization – Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean (ECO-02).