Coliseum Health System - June 07, 2016

No one wants to end up in the emergency room. But, sometimes, accidents happen. These tips can help you successfully navigate the ER with as little stress as possible.

Come prepared.

When you go to the ER, you'll be asked questions about your medical history and the medicines you are taking. This can be difficult when you're flustered or stressed, so come prepared.

Keep a list of any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications or supplements - including names, dosages and what you're taking them for - on your phone. Also make a list of any chronic conditions you have.

This will help the ER get the most accurate information as quickly as possible.

Be honest.

Emergency room doctors have seen it all; so don't feel ashamed or worried about telling them something embarrassing. Answering all questions honestly can help ensure you get the best possible care in the ER.

Trying to trick your emergency room doctor or nurse only harms yourself. If you don't tell the truth about you're smoking, medications, etc. your ER doctor could miss something very important that could factor into how you are treated.

Be patient.

In the past, long wait times were one of the biggest complaints about hospital emergency departments. Fortunately, they've changed considerably over the past 10 years. It used to be that you could plan on an 8-hour wait. These days, the standard is less than an hour, with a goal of 30 minutes.

Still, you may have to wait, so try to be patient. People are usually seen in the order that they arrive, unless they are in a life-threatening situation, in which case they may be moved to the front of the line.

Trust the ER staff

There's no doubt that going to the emergency department can be stressful. But have faith in the people taking care of you.

You can also take steps to learn about your local ER. Find out if it is accredited and if the ER doctors are board-certified in emergency medicine. If they are, you can trust that you're in the care of competent providers and that you're going to get the respect and care that you want and deserve.

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