Emergency Rooms: Tips for Getting Through your First Visit

A trip to the emergency room can be an extremely stressful and difficult event. Whether it’s a visit for you or someone in your family there are so many things to worry about and to top it all off, the person who needs to visit the emergency room is almost certainly in pain!

Prepare Before You Go

The best way to make sure you have a successful emergency room trip is to do some preparation beforehand. This means before anyone in your family is injured. When someone gets hurt, it’s easy to become distracted and forget what you might need, so the best time to prepare is when no one is hurt, and you can think clearly and rationally about what you might need. Make sure you know what emergency rooms are covered under your health insurance plan. After figuring out which hospital emergency rooms are covered find out which ones are closest to your place of employment, your spouse’s place of employment, your child’s school and anywhere else that you spend a lot of time. Make sure you know how to get to these places before you need to rush there.

Everyone in your family should also have an insurance card with them or know the information. Also, make sure you have any pertinent medical information written down such as chronic diseases, medications, previous injuries or blood types. All of this information can save precious time while in the emergency room, and if you have this information handy, you can decrease your risk of emergency room malpractice.

If it comes down to it, and you must go to the emergency room, call the regular physician of the person going to the emergency room. This call can often save you thousands of dollars of emergency room costs that weren’t “pre-approved” by your physician. You should also read through your medical insurance, so you know what to expect when the bill finally arrives. Some insurances charge a larger co-pay for an ER visit, but also keep in mind that not all tests are always covered, even when recommended by an emergency room physician.

Do Tell the Truth

No matter why you are at the emergency room, you must be as honest with the doctors and nurses as possible. Again, no matter the situation you should feel assured that most doctors and nurses have seen it all and that there is almost nothing you could tell them that will genuinely surprise them. Giving your health care provider accurate information about what occurred can have an impact on the treatments that are chosen and the test that are given.

By the same token, don’t make up information when discussing what happened. If you don’t know what your child ate, or when you last had a tetanus shot be honest about these issues too. Your doctor will know how to proceed even if you don’t know the full story. Especially with young children, it can be difficult to ascertain what happened unless you saw it with your own eyes. Children often feel that they might be “in trouble” when something upsetting happens, and again they are probably in pain. This also distracts from their ability to accurately relate what happened.

Avoid the ER

The best way to avoid the risks, hassles, and costs of the emergency room is to simply not visit the ER. This doesn’t mean you should forgo treatment, but it does mean that you shouldn’t use the emergency room as a substitute for a visit to your regular doctor. Don’t let an ailment get so bad that you have to visit the ER for a cough or an infection. Keep a close watch on any issues and make a regular appointment if you need to. Many doctor’s offices have a call-in or nurse line where you can ask questions and in today’s always connected world you may even be able to email your doctor. Most regular doctor’s offices also have “sick” visits, where you can call in the day of and get an appointment. It might not be with your regular doctor, but it’s still less hassle and expense than an ER visit.