What To Expect When You Visit An Emergency Room [ER]

Emergency Room

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An injury or illness can occur when you least expect it. You may not be able to breathe properly, or bleeding profusely. What do you do in that case? Do you call your physical doctor, visit an urgent care center, or go to an emergency room? Well, the best thing would be to rush to the emergency room immediately.

What is an emergency room?

An emergency room is a department in a hospital or medical center, which is tasked with providing medical or surgical care to the patient arriving at the facility in need of immediate care. The personnel at the emergency departments may also respond to specific situations within the hospital, such as cardiac arrests.

So when you arrive at the emergency room such as San Antonio ER near Brooks, what should you expect? Continue reading to learn this. 

What to expect when you arrive at an emergency room

Step 1: Triage

When you arrive at the emergency room, whether on your own or in an ambulance, the first thing you will have to do is to go through a triage process with a licensed registered nurse. The nurse will also take your medical history and perform a brief examination of the symptoms you are experiencing. Patients with severe emergencies are given the first priority. That’s why you may see people who came after you receive treatment before you. The triage process helps ensure that all patients get the care they need as quickly and efficiently as possible, depending on the severity of their illness or injury.

Step 2: Registration

The registration is critical for two reasons: it lets the emergency room personnel gather information for your patient record and obtain your consent for treatment, which will help the emergency room doctor to determine the treatment option that suits your situation.

During your registration, you will be asked questions, such as:

  • Your name
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Mailing address
  • Photo ID
  • Reason for visiting the emergency room

Step 3: Treatment 

The emergency room nurse may start an intravenous [IV] line depending on your situation. The IV line allows the nurse to administer fluids or medications that may be required by a physician. Additionally, a nurse or lab technician may take blood or urine samples, or you may be sent for an X-ray or other necessary imaging test before the doctor sees you. Physicians may also order blood tests on an urgent basis. These test results help the ER physicians to assess your condition. The staff in the emergency department will ensure that you are informed and comfortable during your treatment.

Step 4: Reevaluation

Once the test results come back, your condition will be re-evaluated. That’s because the results will give the doctor an added insight into the treatment options you need. The ER staff may also contact your primary doctor for additional information. If you don’t have a primary doctor, the staff may refer you to an on-call physician. After the reevaluation, the physician attending to you will determine whether you should be treated, admitted to the hospital, or sent home. Typically, most people don’t need to be admitted to the hospital. Instead, they can receive follow up care with a different physician on an outpatient basis.

Step 5: Discharge

During discharge, you will receive written home-care instructions to follow. These instructions include how you can safely care for your illness or wound, directions for taking the prescribed medications, and recommendations to follow-up medical care, such as making an appointment to see your primary care doctor. It is vital to understand all these instructions. If you have a query or don’t understand any instructions, it is best to ask the emergency room staff.

Frequently asked questions [FAQs]

How long will my test take?

Every hospital is different. The process can take between 15 minutes to hours, depending on the test being done and the number of patients in the waiting room. Typically, lab results take between 45 to 90 minutes after the blood has been drawn. The X-ray test can take up to 60 minutes for the radiologist to read the x-ray and add the results to the computer. CT scan, on the other hand, can take one to two hours.

How long will it take for the attending physician to share the results with me?

That will depend. First, the physician has to get the results from the lab and then review them. So this may take time. The amount of time you will wait for your results also depends on the test being done.

Can I eat while waiting?

No. it is not advisable to eat while at home and anticipate a possible ER visit. There are certain procedures that may require the ER staff to give a patient a sedating medication. Since these medications can increase the risk of choking and vomiting, the ER personnel may not safely do these procedures on patients who have had any food or drink in the last few hours. So don’t put anything in your mouth until you get the go-ahead to do so from the emergency department doctor.

Are family and visitors allowed in the treatment area?

Yes, your visitors and family are allowed in your treatment area. These people usually play an essential role in care and healing. That’s why they are allowed in. But some emergency rooms may limit the number of visitors.

What happens if my condition requires additional treatment or surgery?

If your injury or illness requires an in-depth procedure or form of treatment that can only be offered in a conventional hospital setting, you can rest assured that the emergency room staff will take care of everything to ensure that your transition goes as smoothly and as fast as possible. So whether you need surgery or any other potentially unforeseeable care, the staff at the emergency room will handle that.


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