Using the Hospital Emergency Rooms Effectively
Determining if it is a good idea to go to the Emergency Room for treatment depends on a number of factors. Is it a true emergency such as a bad cut, serious injury or bump on the head? Did you child just swallow GrandmaвЂ™s heart medication?
ERвЂ™s must be ready to handle all sorts of problems
The Emergency Room (ER) in most U.S. hospitals is geared towards handling the acute care for all sorts of patients who present with all sorts of problems from a simple sore throat to a heart attack or shooting victim.
Since no one working there knows what is going to come into the ER at any given point in time, they must be ready to help treat a wide assortment of possible problems, both life threatening and no so life threatening.
The ER runs 24 hours a day and is never closed. However, at any given moment they may not know exactly what kind of doctors or physicians standing by to treat the various patients that present via ambulance or who walk in under their own power.
When Should You Go to the ER?
ItвЂ™s easy to decide to go to the ER if you think you are having a heart attack or if you were just in a bad car accident, but what about if you just have the flu and itвЂ™s the weekend or you donвЂ™t even have insurance, let alone a family doctor? Should you go to the ER for any medical issue?
Statistics have shown that the ER is the busiest after 5 p.m., with more than 60 percent of patients showing up then for treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you are in pain or feel sick and feel there is no other place you can turn to, then you can choose to go to the ER.
Or, if you can afford it, there are also Urgent Care Clinics that are usually open after hours that treat non-emergency things like UTIs, sprains, flu, or non-serious cuts or bruises. However, they expect payment on the spot, and these days there are many people who just donвЂ™t have either the money or insurance to go to them, and the only thing open to them is the ER.
Who pays for ER visits?
Even if you do have insurance, some plans require that you get pre-approval for an ER visit and unless you do that or it is determined that there is a life threatening event, you could be liable for the entire bill. However, if you donвЂ™t have any insurance, you can still go to the ER and not fear them asking you for money during your visit.
The reason for this is because most states in the U.S. have laws that the ER canвЂ™t deny treating someone just because they have no money to pay for the care. If you believe that your life is in danger, then by all means, go to the ER to be treated. It could save your life. Even if you have insurance and it is determined that the visit was not life threatening, you may still be covered depending on what was thought at the time you came to the ER.
How does care work in the ER?
An ER is usually set up in its own section of the hospital, normally on the first floor, and is clearly marked вЂњEmergency.вЂќ When patients are brought into the ER there is a system of judging which patients need to be seen first. This is called triage. What this means is it doesnвЂ™t matter what order you get to the ER, whoever needs care fastest or the most urgently is going to be treated first.
So, if all you have is the flu, you could be waiting for several hours, while someone coming in as a shooting victim, a possible heart attack or a bad car wreck is going to be seen before you are. ItвЂ™s the way things are and if you were the more serious person, you would want to be treated first so you could have the best chance to survive.
Each patient is carefully evaluated and moved to the appropriate area of the hospital for treatment and/or advice. If you need medications, you can also usually get them at the hospital pharmacy. There are different sections for minor or major problems being presented by the patients entering the ER. The situations can change dramatically very quickly, so the people working in the ER are normally extremely effective and efficient in getting patients to the proper location to help them.
ER is a stressful and busy place for patients and staff
Since the ER is often the place where doctors and nurses must make life and death decisions, the ER is a very stressful place for everyone involved, both patients and medical teams. There will most likely be a lot of noise, and activity, especially if they are in the middle of some sort of trauma situation like a car wreck, shooting or heart attack victim or if a child has taken poison and must be evaluated immediately. If you are coming into the ER for a minor concern, you will just have to remain patient and be understanding if the doctors or other staff seems a little tense. ThatвЂ™s just the nature of the ER.
Many ERs may also be understaffed, or the crew may be working more than 24 hours on a routine basis. An average wait for a non threatening condition could be anything from a couple of hours to up to five or more hours, so that means unless you are prepared for a long wait, and are really in need of a doctor, it may not be the best place to go for care if you have other options.
All in all, the ER is the best place to go if it is a true emergency as they are the place prepared for traumas, sudden illnesses, heart attacks and much, much more. So, if you find yourself in a serious situation, donвЂ™t hesitate to call 911 or head to the nearest ER for treatment.