Having to go to the Emergency Department can be frightening – We know we are not seeing you at your best and often times we are there to help you through a major medical crisis. While no visit is easy here are some tips that may make your visit a little easier.
- Is the ER really the right place for you ? Did you know that of all patient visits in busy ED’s only between 30% of the pateints are actually admitted. In fact most patients are treated and discharged and usually after a significant wait. Many ailments can actually be treated in an Urgent Care Center or in many of the “Free Standing ER’s” being set up by hospital networks. Medication refills, pregnancy tests (yes we do see this) mild abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and many more complaints can be treated in Urgent Cares. Chest pain, seizures, worst headache of your life, major lacerations, stroke symptoms, broken bones– Head to the ED !
- History & Physical – We are going to ask you tons of questions so please know your history and these questions may be asked by multiple providers ! When we ask past medical history and you answer “none” you need to know that history is anything that you have been diagnosed with even if that condition is under control with the use of medication – so that includes Hypertension, Diabetes and High Cholesterol even if those conditions are well controlled with medications. Please also know the surgeries and approximate dates for those operations. Family history is also important – we are interested in all family history but most importantly mother, father and siblings. Know your allergies. Please know height and weight (though we will weigh you for weight based meds).
- Medications – Please bring in a list of ALL mediations. That includes all over the counter meds, vitamins and supplements. Please see medication record tip at the bottom
- Please bring a friend/family member or another set of eyes and ears – While we may bring only you in initially (in order for us to get you triaged, labs drawn, immediate blood work etc) we do appreciate someone who can provide additional information and also for your sake someone who can act as your advocate. It is not unusual if you have pain or discomfort to not remember instructions or information that is often provided to you. If you come from a large family please designate one spokesperson and point of contact. It is so much easier for all concerned to only have to relay information once. Ask questions – yes we love questions – and respectfully question why we are doing certain tests etc ! Most Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics will not take offence at being sked why they are doing certain things.
- Leave all valuables at home: Do you really need that $10,000 ring and watch in the ED? And while you may have been brought in by ambulance please, at your earliest conveience, give a family member your personal belongings.
One last piece of information – the definition of triage is (in medical use) “the assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties.” ED personnel are REALLY good at determining degrees of urgency. If a person who came into triage gets assigned a room before you, there is usually good reason. This may include any of the following A. Their emergency is more acute than yours B. A bed has become available in an area they are appropriate for ie an OB/GYN emergency may be seen in a different area as may a minor emergency than an abdominal pain. C. Patient may be directly admitted through the ED for things like ohhhhhh Transplant and many more. Believe me as a former ED/Trauma Nurse we like nothing more than treating patients and discharging them – we don’t like overflowing waiting rooms as much as you don’t and our goal is to get you seen and discharged as quickly as possible.
s a great medication card that you can put in your wallet. A little trick – write your meds in pencil – therefore if your provider changes the frequency or dose you only have to erase and change those items and wont have to completely rewrite the card.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Dolores at Synergy Health and Wellness at 561-866-1211.