No matter how careful you are, at some stage, you are likely to end up having to visit the emergency department of your local hospital. Accidents happen and if it is not you, it will be one of the kids.
Be prepared for a long wait
Unfortunately a visit to the emergency room, or if you live in the UK A&E, can be quite stressful. Across the world, as the population of countries increase and financial crashes impact on how much money governments have to spend, healthcare services are becoming stretched.
This is leading to longer waiting times, and there are other issues. Violent incidents in emergency rooms are on the increase. In 2014, three in ten hospitals in America said violent attacks against staff have increased significantly. During the same year, in the UK, attacks on staff increased by nearly 9%. The design of lanyards for NHS staff had to be changed so that they snapped off when people grabbed them to ensure that the wearer could not be choked with the lanyard.
Now, don’t let what I just said put you off going to the hospital. These attacks do not occur every day, and if they do, they are dealt with very quickly. You might see some unpleasant behaviour while you wait, but normally that is it.
If you or a member of the family needs emergency treatment, you need to go to hospital without delay. It just makes sense to be prepared, so that your visit goes as smoothly as possible. Here are a few tips to help you.
Take your documents
You will need your insurance documents, and potentially proof of who you are and where you live. A list of medications, including any over counter medications that you are on and a basic medical history is also helpful. This is especially the case if you have a long-term illness. If you have a living will or power of attorney take those if the injury or issue is serious.
Take some snacks and money
Most ERs have vending machines, but the choice can be limited. It, therefore, makes sense to take some drinks and snacks with you. When you book in ask if it is OK for the patient to eat or drink something. Normally, it is OK, but if there is any chance a procedure that requires anaesthetic needs to be done, they may ask you not to do so. If they ask you not to eat or drink do so, but do not be over worried by the request. Usually, it is only a precaution.
Prepare an ER kit
Because you never know when you are going to have to visit the ER putting together a simple kit makes sense. That way if someone needs to go all you need to do is to grab the bag and get there. Remember to take it with you on days out.
Consider other options first
Sometimes your local doctor will be able to dress a wound for you or assess an injury that is not obviously a break to see if it is a sprain and offer treatment. However, if in any doubt, do not delay, go straight to the emergency room.