What is it like in the emergency room?

If you go to the emergency room for an illness or injury, it’s natural to have many questions about what to expect. If you’ve never been to the ER before, the process can seem confusing, but it is actually a very carefully orchestrated system designed to ensure every patient gets top quality care. Here is a look at what it’s like to be in the emergency room.

Triage
Triage is central to the way emergency rooms function. This process allows providers to prioritize care based on who needs it the most. When you check in at the emergency room, a triage nurse will take your vital signs and ask you questions about your symptoms. Through this process, he or she will determine in what order you should be seen, compared to the needs of other patients.

Triage ensures that people who have potentially life-threatening conditions, such as a heart attack or stroke, receive care before someone whose condition is less serious. If you go to the ER and see other patients receiving care before you, it is because that it was determined that their conditions needed more urgent treatment during triage.

Diagnosis
After you are brought into an exam area in the ER, work will begin on your diagnosis. During the process, you may interact with:

  • Nurses
  • ER physicians
  • Lab technicians
  • Medical imaging technicians

All of these people will work together to make an accurate diagnosis of your condition. You may also be visited by a member of the hospital administration team, who will take information about your insurance and explain how ER billing works.

Treatment
Once you have a diagnosis, treatment will begin. In some cases, such as when you have a broken bone or need stitches, treatment may be completed in the ER. The ER physician may also send you home with prescriptions for medications and a referral to a specialist provider, depending on your needs. You will then be sent home with discharge instructions.

If you need more extensive care, or if the ER physician decides you need more tests to determine an accurate diagnosis, you may be admitted to the hospital rather than being discharged.

West Hills Hospital and Medical Center is pleased to provide emergency care in West Hills around the clock for patients of all ages. To learn more about the comprehensive emergency care we provide in our ER, including our accredited chest pain center and the Grossman Burn Center , please call us today at (818) 676-4321.

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