Brittany spent a few years working in an emergency room office, helping people get checked in to be seen. She’s seen her fair share of crazy (oh, the stories she can tell!), but there are some important tips you should know to make your emergency room visit faster! Follow these tips to shave off some of the time you will sit in the waiting room chairs.
1. Have photo ID and insurance cards ready when you come in.
You will need to verify your identity upon entering the hospital. Things are likely to be crazy, if you’re coming into the ER, but you will still need those documents. Have them handy, and ready to give to the entry staff to make make your emergency room visit faster. You will also need to know if you have insurance or not, so make sure you know that, and have access to the cards or provider information.
2. Be able to describe your symptoms or pain area.
You may not know exactly what’s wrong with you upon entering the emergency room, but you should be ready to at least be able to describe what hurts, and where it hurts. Also be able to give all applicable symptoms, so staff can assess your condition appropriately.
3. Be ready to verify your emergency contacts.
One of the first questions you will be asked upon entering the ER is who you would want knowing you’re there, and if they can share your medical information with them. Make sure you have anyone on that list that you want contacted in the case of a serious emergency, otherwise no one may know you’re even in the hospital.
4. If it’s a true emergency, call in advance, or en route.
If your leg was mostly severed, or if someone is blue and can’t breathe, call the hospital as you’re driving there so they can be ready to help immediately upon arrival. Don’t call if you’re just bringing your kid in for a fever that got a little too high, but do call if it’s a true emergency so medical personnel can be prepared.
5. Be honest.
We all know there are certain medical symptoms that will get you help faster, but you most certainly won’t be helped if you lie. Don’t say you have chest pain, if you really have back pain, just so they will attend to you faster. Doctors can’t help you if you’re not honest about what’s going on. Furthermore, if you lie, just to make your emergency room visit faster, you may take away help from someone who may need it more than you. Be honest.
6. Have a list of all known allergies already made.
Even if you wrote it on a napkin, just be able to give it to the staff quickly. They will need to know any food allergies, textile allergies (latex, etc), as well as medicinal allergies, so make sure you know, or someone close to you does so that information can be relayed to the staff.
7. Have a list of all current medications you’re taking.
Even if you just take ibuprofen once in a while for a headache, or take a daily multivitamin, the medical staff need to know that. If you have an extensive list of medications you take regularly, have it written down, so they can get you into the system quicker. The more organized you are, the easier it will be to enter your information. The staff may have super fast typing skills, but they can only type as fast as you give them information.
8. Bring something to help pass the time.
Unfortunately, it’s just a sad truth that generally you will have to wait for a long period of time before being seen by a doctor. Bring something with you to help pass the time, and to take your mind off your ailment as much as possible. Bring a book, a crossword puzzle, a handheld gaming device, or a tablet or smart phone to amuse you.
9. Be kind to the staff.
While it’s understandable that you don’t feel well, and are probably scared or upset, being rude or intolerable will not make your emergency room visit faster. In fact, it will probably do the opposite. Be kind, and understanding, and you will most likely get through those doors much quicker. Our grandma used to always say, “You will catch more flies with honey, than with vinegar.”
10. Don’t go to the Emergency Room unless you have an emergency.
Don’t wait until 9 PM to decide your cold that you’ve had for a month is now so bad that you need to go to the emergency room. The emergency room is for emergencies. Emergency means a medical situation that is so severe that it cannot wait until morning to go see your primary care physician. The cough you’ve had for two weeks can wait. Your sinus infection can wait. Unless it is a true emergency that needs to be treated immediately, don’t go to the emergency room. Emergency room waits are so long because of how many people abuse the ER. If more people would only go when it’s an emergency room, then wait times would be much shorter.
Are you an Emergency Room employee? Do you have any tips you’d like to add to make your emergency room visit faster that we left out? Add them in the comments!
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