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Emergency Department Wait Times

If you need help immediately, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency department no matter the estimated wait time. The estimated wait times are based on those at the lower end of the triage scale.

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These are predicted wait times for select emergency departments in Nova Scotia. More sites will be added in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are these predicted waits calculated?

The wait time predictions are calculated using historical and current emergency department data, such as: number of arrivals, average severity of patients, and number of physicians.

How often are they updated?

The predictions are updated every hour.

Do these numbers mean I will not wait longer than the maximum time shown?

Due to changing demands in emergency departments, these wait times are not guaranteed and may not be the time you will need to wait once you arrive.

How do you validate these estimated times?

We review the estimated wait times against actual times once those are reported and have the analysis externally peer reviewed. The projection model will be adjusted continuously to improve accuracy.

How accurate are the estimated times?

Across all emergency departments reported, our tests show that 70 per cent of patients waiting see a doctor or nurse before the maximum time shown.

What patients are included?

The predicted wait times are based on data for patients assessed as level 3, 4 or 5 on the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS). Level 1 patients are typically seen without delay.

What is the triage scale?

The Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) is a tool that enables Emergency Departments (ED) to:

  • Prioritize patient care and access requirements
  • Examine patient flow and care processes
  • Complement other workload, case mix, and resource requirement measures

The CTAS supports ED nurses and physicians to:

  • Triage patients according to acuity, risk, and care needs based on their presenting signs and symptoms
  • Ensure that the sickest and highest risk patients are seen first when ED capacity has been exceeded
  • Reassess patients required to wait for a treatment space

When will more sites be added?

You can expect more ED sites to be added in the coming months, as we continue to predict the most accurate wait times possible for each site.

What does it mean when an ED states ‘no data?’

Unfortunately, something may have gone wrong with generating the predictions for the ED site. Please check back later once we have resolved the issue.

The website said the wait would be X hours but I have been waiting longer than that—what happened?

The information on the website is a predicted wait time, but conditions change continuously so waits may increase. Patients are seen in the emergency department based on their medical condition and the severity of their situation.

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