Taking a Closer Look at ER Wait Times

Although physicians do try to see patients as quickly as possible, emergency care departments are notorious for having long wait times. However, some hospitals, such as West Hills Hospital and other HCA-affiliated medical facilities, have implemented streamlined protocols to significantly reduce ER wait times. If you’re in need of emergency care in the West Hills area, our staff members will evaluate and treat you as quickly as possible.

Identifying Solutions to Long Wait Times

It’s commonly believed that long ER wait times are primarily caused by the use of the emergency care department by individuals with non-emergent medical conditions. However, boarding is actually the main cause of extremely long wait times. Boarding is the practice of admitting patients to the hospital despite the lack of available rooms, which means that these patients must wait on gurneys in the halls. This means that the emergency care staff is hard-pressed to provide care for additional patients who arrive in the waiting room. Some hospitals have eliminated this practice, and instead admit patients to different floors and departments.

Checking the Wait Times in Advance

If you’re concerned about ER wait times, you may be able to check them in advance. Some hospitals post regularly updated ER wait times on their website. Or, you may be able to get this information via text message. Bear in mind that these wait times represent an average.

Notifying the Staff About Symptom Changes

Once you’re at the emergency care department, you’ll be assessed by a triage nurse. The provider will evaluate the severity of your symptoms. At an ER, patients with the most serious medical conditions are seen first. If you have a less serious medical problem and you’re asked to wait, you should notify the nurse if your symptoms become worse or you develop new symptoms.

At West Hills Hospital, our emergency care staff is committed to maintaining ER wait times of equal to or below the national average, which means you can receive the care you need faster. If you’re experiencing a true medical emergency in West Hills, such as a heart attack, please call 911 immediately. Otherwise, you can reach our hospital at (818) 676-4321 for general information about our healthcare services, which include cancer care, maternity services, and spine care.

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