When you visit our Emergency Department because you or someone you love is sick or injured. While you are in this area of the hospital you may experience some things that are very unfamiliar to you. To better educate you on what to expect, we would like to explain the process that occurs while you are visiting and explain some of the experiences you may have while visiting the HMH ER.
Whether you bring yourself, a family member brings you, or you are brought to the hospital by ambulance, you will speak with a nurse about why you are here. The first nurse that you will speak with is called the triage nurse. The triage nurse records why you are here, medications you take and important information about your past medical history. This nurse will also want to take your temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. They may also order specific tests, such as an EKG or x-ray, depending on your triage assessment. This information is made immediately available to the Emergency Department physician. In most cases you will be seen by a doctor within 30 minutes of triage.
Once your condition has been determined to be stable, your next step in the process is registration. You (or if you are too ill, a family member) will speak with one of the registration clerks. The clerk will want to know what illness or injury brings you to the Hospital, your name, address and who your regular doctor is. The clerk will also review your insurance information. The registration clerk will also ask you or your family member to sign a consent form. This gives us permission to treat you in the Emergency Department and to bill your insurance carrier.
The Emergency Department
The Emergency Department is located directly off of the waiting area, and adjacent to the main registration area. It has eleven different patient care areas. You will be seen by a physician and may experience some or all of the following:
- Ongoing care by a nurse assigned to your care area and assigned to care for you.
- You may have blood drawn for laboratory tests. These tests may take as long as one hour or more to be completed.
- You may have x-rays. X-rays take only a short time to be taken, but the Emergency Department physician must examine the x-rays and make a determination before you will know the results.
- You may have a CT scan which requires that you have an IV with an additive and/or orally consume a substance called contrast. This requires a two hour wait after consumption of the contrast, before CT scan can be completed.
- You may have an n EKG (heart tracing).
Depending on the results of these tests, you may also need:
- IV Fluids
- A visit from a specialist
- Splints or casts
- Admission to the hospital
- Transfer to another hospital
All of these things take different amounts of time. The nurse that is caring for you can give you an idea of the length of time you can expect to wait. We encourage you to ask your nurse about medications, procedures and times. We hope that this will help you understand what to expect while visiting the Emergency Department.
Customer service is very important to HMH. If you have any concerns about your care, please feel free to fill out a questionnaire located at the front desk. You may simply drop the questionnaire in the comment box or take it home and mail it free of charge. If you prefer to speak with someone about your care, please call the Emergency Department Manager at 234.2300, ext. 4889 or call 235.3554 for Administration.