Visiting the ER is a stressful task and can be full of uncertainty. You need to be prepared and organised before going to the ER. There are circumstances where you may not have the time to organise yourself for the visit, and you may need the help of those around you.
Here are 12 factors to consider when visiting the ER.
- Your Medical History
When you visit the ER such as Idaho Falls Community Hospital, you must be prepared to narrate your medical history. You will be asked many questions regarding your history such as allergies, current medication, your last visit and the outcome of the consultation, changes in prescription, side-effects of medication, and dates of doctor’s visits. This kind of information will help the medical team to open and chart your visit as well as outcomes.
Identification is crucial when visiting the ER. You must bring with you any form of identification for the ER to accept you as their patient. Forms of identification include a passport, government-issued I.D, birth certificate, driver’s license, and social security card. Failure to provide identification means you won’t be permitted treatment at the ER.
- Medical Aid
If you are going to use your medical aid or health insurance to cover the costs of the ER, you need to make sure that these are up to date in terms of payment. You can call your provider to check your records and if not paid up, you may have to make provisions that will make it possible for you to get attended to. It’s important to make sure that your medical aid is always on track to avoid having to worry about finances while you already have a have health issue to be concerned about.
- Prepare For A Prolonged Stay
When you visit the ER, you may assume that you will be there for a set number of days or hours. However, there’s no way to know for sure until a doctor runs tests and makes a recommendation.
The duration of your stay in the ER depends on your health status and condition. Doctors and nurses may discover other health issues that you may not have initially visited the ER for. This may mean having to stay there longer than you have intended.
The fact that you don’t know for certain how long you may be in the ER means you have to plan in the event that you will be away for a prolonged period. How to prepare depends on your lifestyle and circumstances. If you have children, you may need to call a babysitter or have family members help watch the kids. If you have dogs, you can find a pet minder. You have to consider your home setup and plan accordingly.
Preparing for a prolonged stay also means packing a mini-bag. Your bag can have toiletries, change of clothes, forms of entertainment like book or a music gadget, and snacks.
- Prepare To Wait
Depending on the severity of your condition, you may need to wait for a while before getting attended to. It may get frustrating but you will have to sit through it so that you can get the quality care that you need. The doctors and nurses work on a schedule that makes sure that all patients are attended to, making it difficult for staff to be immediately available when you walk in.
You can however make the most out of your wait. Most ERs have health tips, magazines, booklets and posters that you can read. You can fill in the time by learning the different facts about your health and how to improve it. You can also pay attention to how you feel because you will be asked to explain the symptoms that you are feeling. The more eloquently you explain your symptoms, the better chances you get in terms of receiving the treatment aligned to your symptoms.
- Bring Someone With You
In the event that your condition is serious, you will need to have someone to fill in the information required and to communicate with staff members. The person you bring with you may need to have access to the information required and also be the person who doctors provide feedback regarding your health condition. This means that it needs to be a person whom you trust and can confide in.
- Know Your Rights
Professional ER staff members will respectfully treat you. However, you should know that you have rights when visiting the ER. You have the right to fair and equal treatment, consent, and privacy. You have to wait for patients in more serious conditions to be catered to as well as those who came before you, falls under the right to fair and equal treatment. You have to give consent to the treatments that are provided for your situation, as well as knowing that your information can’t be disclosed to a 3rd party without your consent.
- You May Get Stressed
You may encounter stressful and traumatic situations when you visit the ER. For example, you may witness accident survivors, or witness the sadness of those who would have just lost a loved one. Such scenarios may be overwhelming and contribute to stress. It’s important to remember that the more stressed and overwhelmed you are, the higher the risk of prolonging your healing process.
You need to find ways to control your stress levels so that you focus on getting well. Some techniques that may help with stress alleviating in the ER include deep breathing exercises, journaling, and engaging in positive discussions with those around you. Focusing on the overwhelming scenarios will only make the visit a negative experience.
- Update Your Loved Ones
If you are in a position where you can communicate, you can keep your loved ones updated regarding your health condition. They may be able to help you with the items that you require during your stay that will make you more comfortable. For example, if you are staying for a longer period than you had initially prepared for, they can bring more items to add to your bag.
- Ask Questions
You should comfortably ask questions throughout the process of being admitted. You may need clarity regarding the navigation of the ER space as it can be a massive structure with multiple divisions. You can also ask questions regarding your chart, the medication you are prescribed with, medical terms you don’t understand, as well as advice about self-care and healing.
You should also ask questions regarding your out-of-pocket expenses. You may be on an up-to-date medical aid payment or health insurance program but, depending on your condition, you may incur out of pocket expenses. For example, a physician, psychologist, or chiropractor may not be included in your health insurance package. Not all types of medication are included in medical aid as well. You need to seek clarity regarding the services that are included in medical aid.
- Arrange For After-care
Depending on your health condition, you must arrange for after-care at home. If you have family members that can help you with chores and the general care regarding your wellness, you will have to be prepared to depend on them. If family care isn’t an option, you can arrange for professional at-home care services. Some hospitals include this option as a part of their services. You should make sure that you familiarise with the services that are available after you are discharged so that you make the most of your ER’s services. It’s important to follow all the rest instructions that are provided by the medical team, to avoid deteriorating.
- Keep Medical Contacts
Once you have left the hospital, you will need to have important medical numbers in case you need to reach out to them while you are at home. This information is usually on ER platforms such as pamphlets, doctor’s business cards and magazines. Make sure to have these numbers handy as you don’t know if you will need their assistance when at home.
When visiting the ER you must keep in mind to bring your documents which include medical records, identification, and insurance. You must also be prepared to wait, and use your time efficiently while you wait to be attended to. Don’t forget that as a patient, you have rights that need to be adhered to and it helps to know these in case you need to question certain procedures.
You may want to familiarise yourself with ER services that are available to you, in the event that you will need to visit if you haven’t before. You can take a look at the services provided, values and mission by the hospitals. Taking a tour of the hospital will help you appreciate the practical dynamic of services.