Your ER Visit: What to Expect
To make your ER visit more understandable and less stressful, here is some information about what you might expect when you or your loved one arrives. Every patient is different, and our staff will take all necessary steps to provide the appropriate care as quickly as possible.
When you arrive at the ER, you will be asked for basic information such as your name, age, and reason for coming to the hospital. A nurse will immediately record your vital signs (such as temperature and blood pressure).
Triage is the process that we use to determine which medical care should be used, and how immediately. A nurse will ask you more detailed questions about your illness, as well as your medical history, allergies and whether you are taking any medications.
Triage ensures that we treat the sickest patients first, and that each patient is seen in the most appropriate part of the ER. We strive to provide the quickest care possible to all patients, but sometimes we are already caring for many sick patients when you arrive. Your patience is appreciated.
You will also be seen by a member of our registration team. Registration is a vital part of your ER visit, and your personal information must be accurately entered into your medical record.
You may be asked whether or not you have health insurance. Be assured that a physician will examine you, regardless of your insurance status, or your ability to pay. You will never be asked for any form of payment before your exam. Emergent care will be provided, regardless of your ability to pay.
Once your condition is diagnosed and stabilized, we will make every effort to help you afford the care that you receive in the ER. This means working with any insurance coverage you may have, and also with social services and community resources.
Screening Exam and Treatment
Once you are taken into your exam room, you may be seen by a variety of healthcare providers: nurses, physician assistants, medical residents, staff physicians, students, or members of other hospital departments (such as pharmacy, respiratory or radiology).
All of these people are there to do their part in your care. You may be asked the same questions several times. Please understand this is in the name of accuracy and safety, and is not intended to frustrate you.
A physician will visit your room and perform an exam. Depending on your case, he or she may order testing, medications, IV fluids, or other services. ER staff will make sure that you receive all these services in a safe, efficient manner. Please be aware that it can take time to get the results for some tests.
You may be asked to change into a hospital gown for ease of exam. Various safety and monitoring equipment could be used, so that our nurses and physicians can keep tabs on your illness.
Once your testing is complete, your physician will decide whether you can go home, or be admitted to the hospital for further care.
If you are to be discharged home, the ER staff will safely complete your treatments, and provide you with discharge instructions and education. Your physician may write prescriptions for medications, and help you to schedule a follow-up appointment with a doctor or clinic.
If you are to be admitted, your ER physician will consult with your personal physician and other doctors who are expert in your illness. Together they will determine the best location in the hospital for your placement. Once an inpatient hospital bed is assigned, you will be safely transported there for additional care.