It’s impossible to predict when you may be in an emergency situation, but it is possible to be prepared. Gather the following personal information and keep it easily accessible. In the event of an emergency you will have everything you need ready to go.
- Your personal identification.
- Your current medication(s) or a list of your medication(s).
- Your insurance identification card. (Your insurance company may require that notification be given within a specified time period following your visit – please check your identification card or follow up with your insurance company.)
- The name of your primary doctor.
- A copy of your advance directive or POLST form, if you have one.
- Your current address and telephone number.
Answers to common questions about your emergency stay:
- What to expect when you visit the Center for Emergency Care
- Is everyone given emergency care?
- Who will treat me?
- What to tell the staff
- How long should I expect to be in the Center for Emergency Care?
- What is Fast Track?
- Are visitors allowed?
- Safeguarding your valuables
- What happens when I am ready to go home?
While the differences in the variety and severity of conditions that lead to an Emergency Department visit make it difficult to know exactly what to expect, our identification and treatment of the cause of your particular condition begins with a coordinated effort by a team of highly qualified specialists. Triage allows patients most in need of care to be seen first. After checking in with the triage nurse, you will be escorted to the area most appropriate for your care.
In addition to examinations by the emergency care team, your care may include lab tests, imaging studies, medications, consultation with other doctors and possibly admission to the hospital.
Everyone who enters the Center for Emergency Care is seen - no appointment is necessary. Triage allows patients most in need of care to be seen first. After checking in with the triage nurse, you will be escorted to the area most appropriate for your care.
Patients are cared for by doctors, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, registered nurses, and emergency department technicians. You may also meet admission representatives, secretaries and volunteers, all working to meet your needs. Other providers involved in making medical decisions about your care may include your own doctors, as well as specialist physicians such as orthopaedists or cardiologists.
To help us assess and treat you, please inform us of:
- Past and current health problems
- All medications, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and herbs you are currently taking, including dosage amounts
- Any recent trips overseas
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Any additional medical information that you believe to be important
Some patients are seen, treated and sent home in a short period of time. For patients requiring diagnostic studies, medication, repeat examinations, and consultations with other doctors, the average time in the Center typically ranges from approximately two to five hours. Every effort is made by our emergency care team to evaluate and treat each patient promptly, while keeping you informed and comfortable.
If admission to the hospital is required, your doctor or a specialist will provide admission orders for your care. If your primary care physician is on staff at PMC, he or she is welcome to attend to you during your stay with us. However, many primary care physicians entrust the care of their patients to a hospitalist, who specializes in the care of patients while they are in the hospital. The hospitalist will communicate with your primary care physician as well as any specialists or others involved in your care, so they are prepared to continue your care after you are discharged.
Occasionally, the hospital may be very busy and an extended stay in the Center for Emergency Care may be necessary. In this case, we will do our best to keep you comfortable until a room can be prepared for you.
For those patients coming to the Center for Emergency Care with minor injuries or illnesses, PMC provides a treatment area called Fast Track. This area is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. It is staffed by an advanced practice clinician and a supervising emergency physician. In most cases, Fast Track patients are evaluated, treated and released within 90 minutes of their arrival.
Having family or friends with you can ease the stress of being in the Center for Emergency Care. At PMC, visitors are welcome to visit with you, but we ask you to limit visitation of your family and friends to no more than two visitors at the bedside. Your privacy and confidentiality are very important to us. We ask all visitors to respect the privacy of others in the Center for Emergency Care by waiting either with the patient or in the waiting room.
Sometimes visitors may be asked to remain in the waiting room while certain treatments are performed. We will try to minimize the time that visitors are not allowed at your bedside. We ask that all visitors follow the instruction of PMC personnel at all times.
It is best to ask a relative or friend to hold onto your valuables while you are being treated in the Center for Emergency Care. If you are admitted to the hospital, your loved one or friend may take your valuables with them or your valuables will be placed in a locked closet.
Following treatment, patients who are ready to leave receive verbal and written instructions about what to do once they return home. These details include any home care, medication use and follow up appointments that may be necessary.
If you continue to have problems, please feel free to return to the Center for Emergency Care or contact your physician. In the event of a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 for assistance.