No one likes to go to the Emergency Room and those visits seem to come at the most inconvenient times. However, a trip to the ER will go better if you have prepared for that possibility. This means you should have an updated copy of the following information ready to take with you at a moment’s notice:
- A current list of your medications
- A list of any drug, food, or contact allergies
- Your medical history
- The name and phone number of your primary care physician and any specialists who are treating you
- A copy of your medical insurance cards
- Phone numbers for your medical POA agent and any other contact people you wish included. (Since emergencies happen 24 hours a day, be sure to include home, work, and cell numbers).
You will want to keep this information updated and in a convenient location in your home, so you can take it with you for a quick trip to the ER. This information will make it easier for the medical staff in the ER to provide you with the best medical care possible.
Once you arrive at the hospital ER, be prepared to go through an evaluation process, called triage. The triage process helps insure that the most critical patients are cared for first. If you do not have a life-threatening problem, you may need to wait to be seem by a physician. Be assured that the staff in the ER does not enjoy backlogs any more than you do and that they will take care of you as soon as they can.
Frequently the ER physician may order x-rays or laboratory tests. This usually means additional waiting time both to have the tests done and for the physician to obtain the results.
You may find it helpful to have a family member or friend with you in the ER. This individual can help you pass the time while you are waiting, can go to the ER staff for updates, and can help you remember or write down information given to you by the physician and staff.
Elder Care Coordinator