What happens in the emergency department?
To help us assess your medical situation, one of our nurses will ask you the reason for your visit and check your vital signs, including temperature, pulse, respiration, blood pressure and blood oxygen level.
The registration process allows us to gather more information for your medical record and includes your provision of consent to be treated in the emergency department. A nurse will ask you questions regarding:
- The reason for your visit
- Current medications you are taking
- Allergies you may have
- Treatment before arrival to the emergency department
- Your medical history
Please remain in the waiting area until your name is called. We will respond as quickly as possible to your medical need according to the seriousness of your injury or illness as compared to those of other patients waiting to be seen.
Once your name is called, a nurse will escort you to a treatment room. If your name is called and you do not respond, the next patient will be called.
In order to determine life- or limb-threatening illnesses or injuries or to stabilize such conditions, the emergency department physician on call will perform a medical evaluation. This evaluation may include testing or consultation with a specialist.
You also will be asked a number of questions. Some of them may seem repetitive, but this process is necessary to make sure we have covered all the vital information needed to determine proper treatment.
If your visit results in an admission, we will make arrangements for a hospital room as quickly as possible.
If you are treated and released, you will receive discharge instructions including a physician's name for follow-up care and his or her office number, as well as specific instructions to return to the emergency department if your symptoms become worse.
If you had X-rays taken while in the emergency department and are referred to your primary care physician for follow-up, call the radiology department in advance to make sure your X-rays are available to your physician.
Why is there sometimes a wait?
We understand that waiting can be frustrating, and when you're uncomfortable, in pain, or worried about a family member, even a few minutes can seem like an eternity.
In an emergency department setting, patients who are the most seriously ill or injured will be cared for first. For this reason, patients are often not treated in the order of their arrival.Please know that we are committed to seeing all patients in a timely manner. Our staff appreciates your understanding and patience as we evaluate and care for our patients based on the severity of their medical problems. If you feel your symptoms are getting worse while you wait or if you need to leave the waiting area, please let our staff know.
Why is access to some areas restricted?
In order to provide fast and efficient care for our patients, the doors to the emergency department treatment areas remain locked at all times. This keeps traffic flow in the hallways to a minimum so doctors and nurses can care for patients, and it protects the patients’ confidentiality and privacy.
For these same reasons, visitors and patients are asked to stay in the treatment room and not stand in the hallway or doorway.
What are the policies for visitors?
When looking for a patient in the emergency department, please check with the reception desk for room numbers. In most cases, no more than two visitors are allowed in the patient's room after the examination and/or procedures are completed. If more family members are present, please ask that one keep the others updated on the patient's condition. Visitors may also take turns staying with the patient. If you have a question or concern about our visitor policies, please ask a nurse or a patient advocate.