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A trip the ER: The Basics

February 15, 2016

No one plans for a trip to the Emergency Department, but life can be unexpected. If you’re unfamiliar with Emergency Department procedures, a trip there may be overwhelming. But understanding some Emergency Department basics can ease you through your visit.

Know: Understand the triage process

Patients in the Emergency Department are treated based on the severity of their symptoms, not on a first-come, first-served basis. It is important for you to provide a clear description of your symptoms, including how long you’ve had them and if they are recurring. Show patience if someone is treated before you—their medical needs may be more urgent. If you have concerns, tell the triage nurses. They want to provide you with the best

Talk: Be open about your habits and medical history

If you’re feeling stressed, it may be difficult to remember medications or past illnesses, so bring a medical history card or have one on your phone. Your doctor also needs to know about your health habits, such as smoking or drinking. Fully disclosing your habits and history will help your doctor narrow down a diagnosis and determine the best treatment for you.

Listen: Pay attention

In our world of digital connectivity it is easy to get distracted by our phones and hand-held devices. When your physician or nurse is speaking to you, give them your full attention. Not only will this help you get through the Emergency Department quicker, but you will receive important information about your diagnosis and treatment. If you have a question or concern about your care, don’t be afraid to speak up and address your needs.

Ask: Take an active role

Ask questions if you don’t understand why your doctor prescribes a test or treatment. Your doctor wants to provide the best care for your needs, and you play an important role in the decision-making process. Ask about various treatment options so that you understand why a certain test or medication is prescribed. Be sure to ask if your insurance covers the treatment so you aren’t stuck with unexpected costs.

Close to Home

Know where to go before an emergency strikes. Find a location nearest you HERE.