What to Expect During Your ED Visit
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Arriving at the Emergency Department (ED), a patient will be greeted by a registered nurse (RN) who will do a quick assessment of the severity of their condition. Whenever possible the patient will go directly to a room after a patient care representative completes a brief registration interview.
Patients are seen based on the severity of their condition, with the most seriously ill and injured patients seen first. If an examination area is not immediately available and the patient’s condition is not severe, the patient may be examined in a Triage room and asked to wait for test results and discharge instructions in the Results Waiting Room.
If all ED rooms and the Results Waiting Room are full, the patient may need to wait in the main waiting room after being triaged in the triage area, where an RN, often aided by a trained technician, gathers information about medical history and performs an initial assessment, including vital signs and a limited examination.
The expanded capacity of the ED is designed to improve patient experience and shorten wait times. Several factors may influence the amount of time it takes for a patient to be seen by a doctor, complete treatment or be admitted to the hospital. These factors include the number of patients in the ED, complexity of cases, amount of testing and availability of beds. Our staff will do everything we can to expedite the processes while ensuring quality of care and patient safety.
Several members of our ED staff will proactively communicate with patients during their visit to provide important information related to their care, offer way- finding information and updates on wait times, etc. Patient service representatives greet patients and provide basic information. Nursing supervisors proactively offer updates on wait times and patient status as appropriate.
A visit to the ED can be inherently stressful for patients and their loved ones. Our staff makes every effort to respect a patient’s wishes about visitation. Please note that visitation at times can be limited, but frequent updates are provided to keep visitors informed about their loved one’s care and condition. We appreciate your understanding as we try to provide the best possible care for our patients in an environment that respects every patient’s rights to privacy and comfort.
Once transported to the treatment room, a patient will undergo assessments by both RNs and ED doctors. If testing is needed, a technician may draw blood or transport the patient for an X-ray or CT scan, located within the ED, or for more extensive testing in other areas of the hospital. If advanced testing is necessary, it may prolong a patient’s stay in the ED. Nurse supervisors keep patients (and their visitors) informed about their care.
After an evaluation is made and treatment is administered, the ED staff works to coordinate a patient’s care with their primary care doctor and other specialists involved in their care. If a patient does not have a primary care doctor or the doctor does not maintain admitting privileges at the hospital, care will be overseen by the ED doctor and communicated to an on-call doctor (referred to as a hospitalist) who will care for the patient if they are admitted.
When a patient is discharged from the ED, a member of our staff offers information about how to obtain a primary care doctor or specialist to provide the follow-up care necessary for recovery. Each of our patients receives very specific, written discharge instructions.