When you or your loved ones are facing a healthcare crisis, all you care about in that moment is having the very best healthcare team on your side. But in the event of a non-emergency, when you have more time to focus and think, you may be wondering where to go for your care or what the difference is between healthcare facilities in our province.

There are many outstanding community hospitals in Nova Scotia that provide excellent primary and secondary care to local residents. Primary care includes health promotion, illness and injury prevention like immunizations, as well as diagnosis and treatment for things like the flu or a broken bone. Secondary care is provided by a specialist who has specific knowledge and skill in a particular health field, like diabetes.

For the highest levels of care patients are transferred or referred from their local community hospital to an advanced, specialized centre, like the QEII Health Sciences Centre. This is often when patients are hospitalized and require expertise in complex areas like neuroscience, cancer care, advanced heart conditions and transplantation. Keep in mind, the QEII is also a community, local hospital for those living in or near Halifax.

There are two main hospitals in Halifax that offer advanced, specialized care — the QEII and the IWK. The difference between the two is most simply put as: the QEII takes care of adults and the IWK takes care of children and youth.

However, there are many care areas and programs that are integrated between the two health centres. Cancer radiation and prosthetics for children are just two examples of care delivered at the QEII. And the IWK is a women’s and children’s hospital, providing maternal care, gynecology services and breast cancer treatment. But for the most part, the QEII is our advanced adult healthcare centre and the IWK is our specialized pediatric centre.

The QEII Health Sciences Centre is a complex of 10 buildings, spread over two city blocks. Many think the QEII is the Halifax Infirmary building on Robie Street, but that is just one building of 10 on both the VG and Halifax Infirmary sites. We include a map of all QEII buildings in this publication to help you find your way.

The main takeaway is, no matter what healthcare facility you visit, we should all be proud of the healthcare expertise available to us, here at home. I encourage you to support health care by making a contribution or sharing your personal story on how health care has touched your life.

QEII Times is produced to shine a light on health care at the QEII and provide you with educational and inspiring stories of the extraordinary, world-leading care happening within the QEII. We are proud that this publication is supported by advertisers and our partnership with The Chronicle Herald, ensuring we can share these impact stories with you.

Because here at the QEII, we’ve got this, we’ve got you.