A trip to a 24 hour emergency room is usually not something that you plan. However, knowing what to expect when you go can make the experience more comfortable. It can also help you become more active in your health care, which can assist the ER personnel in providing complete, efficient care.
The time to prepare for an emergency room visit is now, well before you need to go. Here are some facts you should know about an emergency room visit.
1. You May Have To Wait
Being the first in line at the emergency room doesn’t mean that you’ll be seen before other patients. Emergency rooms operate according to a system of triage, which involves assessing patients’ symptoms and prioritizing who needs urgent care the most. Specially trained nurses decide who needs to be seen right away and who can wait.
If your symptoms are not life-threatening, you may be asked to wait before a doctor can see you. It may be a matter of minutes, or it could be up to an hour. It is a good idea to bring something to occupy yourself in case you do have to wait.
2. You Can Prepare Beforehand for a Visit to a 24-Hour Emergency Room
Even though you don’t know when you will have to visit the emergency room, you can still prepare by keeping your medical information up-to-date and close by. Keep this information in a file folder to take with you to the emergency room. Another option, which may be more efficient, is to store it on your phone so that you can show it upon request. Relevant medical information includes the following:
- All your current medications
- Drug allergies
- History of chronic conditions
3. You Should Provide Specific Information
When you arrive at an emergency room, a doctor or nurse will ask you questions about your current health status. Respond to these questions as thoroughly and concretely as you can. Start with your most concerning symptoms and make sure to describe any past medical history. Don’t leave out anything that might be relevant, even if it is embarrassing to admit.
To get an accurate picture of what is happening, the ER staff need as much information as you can provide. They are not there to judge you, and there is generally nothing you can tell them that they haven’t heard before.
4. You Are Allowed To Ask Questions
Even in an emergency, you are expected to be an active participant in your care. If you don’t understand what’s going on, ask questions to the doctors and nurses. They are there to help you, and asking questions may help them to provide you with better care.
In addition to asking questions about the care you receive, you are also allowed to make requests of the doctors, nurses, etc. who attend you. If there is something that could make you more comfortable, such as an extra blanket or a drink of water, it’s okay to ask.
5. You May Have To Pay Out-of-Pocket Costs
Even if the hospital is part of your health insurance network, there may be ER staff working there who are not part of your network (OON) of preferred providers. If this is the case, they may bill you separately for the services they provide.
6. You Can Get Help With Insurance Questions
Questions about coverage, problems with approvals, and similar issues are within the purview of a hospital social worker. Many emergency rooms keep these professionals on staff.
7. You Should Receive Discharge Instructions in Writing
When you leave the hospital, it doesn’t mean that you have been restored to perfect health. This means that your care can now take place at home. Be sure that you read any information about your recovery and instructions on taking medication in writing. Do not rely on your memory.
When It Comes to a 24-Hour Emergency Room, You Have Options
Community Health 1st ER is a freestanding emergency room staffed with board-certified ER doctors and 30% more exam rooms to serve you better. Find out more about the services we offer.
What You Should Know Before Going to a 24-Hour Emergency Room | Community Health 1st ER