What to expect when you visit the Emergency Department

November 14, 2018| Health and Wellbeing /

The emergency department assesses & treats people with serious injuries as well as those in need of emergency treatment.

While not all hospitals will have emergency departments, in case of emergency ambulance services responding to a 000 call will consider all factors regarding the status of seriously ill patients before transporting them to the nearest appropriate emergency department.

What to expect

Your emergency department care will begin from the moment you arrive. Your condition will be assessed by a triage nurse (a specialist emergency department nurse) who will also provide first aid before prioritising you for treatment. This may lead to you being asked to await treatment in the waiting room, which is a result of the schedule the emergency department in question is facing as well as the severity of other patients’ potential afflictions.

Questions

The medical background of each patient is unknown to emergency department staff, so expect lots of questions! Questions may be repeated to ensure accuracy and/or different staff members may require specific information.

You’ll likely be asked about the following topics:

  • What has brought you to the Emergency Department?

  • What health problems have you been facing?

  • What medications/treatments have you had/been having?

  • Do you have any allergies?

  • Have you taken any recent overseas trips?

  • Are you pregnant/breastfeeding?

Who’s Who?

You’ll see a number of helpful faces on your way to a hospital emergency department and while you’re there.

Ambulance paramedics

Paramedics can be the first of a number of helpful faces you’ll see during your care. If you have a medical emergency or serious accident, they will arrive via ambulance to assess your condition and treat you at the scene and on the way to the emergency department.

Healthcare staff in the emergency department

A triage nurse (specialist emergency department nurse) will assess your condition upon your arrival to the emergency department. You will then be seen by an appropriate healthcare professional such as a doctor,nurse, a pharmacist and physiotherapist depending on your problem.

Diagnostic staff in the emergency department

If you are sent for tests such as x-rays, technicians such as radiographers and sonographers will work with emergency department staff to help diagnose and treat your medical issue.

Support staff in the emergency department

Support staff in the emergency department may include orderlies, administration staff, environmental services staff and security staff

Avoid food & drink

Tests or procedures requiring patients to not eat or drink beforehand may be required when you attend an emergency department, so avoid food & drink before your visit if possible

Look after your valuables

Have a friend or relative come with you to the emergency department. Friends/relatives help relieve potential stress surrounding an emergency department visit and can also safely guard your valuables.

Epworth HealthCare provides emergency department services in Geelong (8am – midnight, seven days) and Richmond (24/7).



Rowan Webb

Contributor

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