Posted November 2, 2015
Sickness, allergic reactions, broken bones, accidents and injuries. Americans go to hospital emergency rooms (ERs) for many reasons. In fact, over 136 million are treated by emergency health care professionals each year. While driving to the ER, or while sitting in the hospital waiting room, prepare for your visit with the doctor and nurse. Here are seven ways to improve your experience, as suggested by Reader’s Digest.
- Purpose – Be ready to describe why you’re visiting the ER vs. scheduling an appointment with your regular doctor. Identify specific health problems and possible causes, along with details about when the issue started.
- Health history – During your ER visit, health care professionals will ask many questions to help them understand your current health problem and medical history. Make the best use of the time by providing a complete list of health problems, surgeries and recent sicknesses. It may be helpful to write down the details while you are waiting.
- Medication history – Provide a list of medications you take, including name and dosage. Another option is to bring along your medication bottles. Don’t expect the ER team members to know the medications you’re taking based on your description of their color or size.
- Seek help for one problem – ER doctors and nurses care for many patients. Keep the reason for your visit to one specific issue if possible.
- Don’t omit information – The ER team needs to know about your health habits, even those that may be less than desirable. If you smoke, drink or use drugs, they need to know.
- Discuss costs – If you pay for medication costs out of pocket, tell the nurse or doctor so they can look for less expensive prescription medication options, such as generic or a non-prescription drugs.
- Stay off the phone – If you need to contact someone to let them know you’re in the ER, do it quickly while you’re waiting. ER doctors and nurses are very busy, so you’ll want to stay off your phone when they’re in your room.