As it had long been said, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.” With that said, most people do not plan for a visit to the emergency room. This is do in part because emergency room visit is nearly always an event that is unexpected. However, that does not mean that one cannot plan ahead in the event of a medical crisis. By planning ahead, the patient will be able to have their needs met much more swiftly and efficiently.
Prior to when an emergency room visit even becomes a possibility, certain information should be gathered.Emergency contact information should be kept in a designated place. It is best to have a minimum of two emergency contacts. These people should be informed that you will be listing them as your emergency contact. Their names, addresses, and home, work and cell phone numbers should be listed. As well, their relationship to you (the patient) should be indicated.A person should always have a written list of all the medications which they are currently taking, the name of the doctor who prescribed them, the amount of medicine which has been prescribed and the number of times daily which the medicine is taken. Each time medications are adjusted or cease to be taken this list should be updated.Health insurance information, policy numbers, and the policy holder’s name should be included with the complied information. Each time a new insurance card is issued, or a policy changed this information should be updated.
This information should be posted in a prominent place. When the time comes for an emergency room visit, make sure you (the patient) have this information with you. Or, make sure that the person who will be with you is aware where it is in case you are incapacitated and cannot relay this pertinent information.
Upon arrival at the emergency room, stay calm. Try to provide as much information as you can, or if you are not the patient and the patient is unable to relay much of the needed information, make sure that a clear and concise account of the patient’s symptoms/issues is communicated to the triage nurse and attending physicians.
Waiting patiently is part of the emergency room process. Often patients who arrive after you may be taken before you simply because they are in a critical condition and require immediate attention. Recognize the limitations of those on duty.
During the wait, if you are not familiar with patients’ rights, ask for a copy for your perusal. Review these so you are aware of what they contain, and what you are entitled to expect in regard to care. Should you have any questions, ask the receptionist in the emergency room, not a nurse or doctor as they must be attending to patients’ needs.
As you wait, relay to the doctor or nurse any critical changes that occur in regard to the medical condition of the patient. Unless this occurs, wait patiently until your needs can full be addressed by the hospital staff.