Going to the ER can be an intimidating experience, made even more frightening by the medical emergency that you're experiencing. The good news is that you can control some of your situation. Knowing exactly what to do and ask before you go is key to navigating the ER.
According to Science Daily, there are more than 115 million trips to the ER every year. Don't be an under prepared patient. Learn these five ways to properly handle your ER experience:
1. Take Your Health Records
Bring your health records to the ER. If you have a significant medical history or a current diagnosis of an illness, your health records can provide valuable information to the ER staff as they evaluate your situation. In addition to your records, you should also carry an emergency health information card in your purse or wallet at all times. Any and all medical information that you can provide upfront is critical to an accurate diagnosis.
2. Bring Someone with You
In an emergency, you might be too sick or stressed to handle everything on your own. Always take someone with you to the ER – a parent, friend, sibling or other family member can help provide information to the ER staff, as well as take notes or ask questions for you. The person you bring can also assist with discharge instructions and help you get home.
3. Ask Questions
Don’t let the doctor assume you understand everything he or she has told you. Always ask for clarification of anything you don’t fully comprehend. Make sure to ask any and all questions before you go home, or you’ll be stuck at home wondering or confused about your condition.
4. Repeat What The Doctor Tells You
Once you’ve asked all of your questions, repeat back to the doctor what you think your diagnosis is and the instructions are for future medical care, including the medications and dosages that have been prescribed to you. This is the best way to guarantee both you and the ER doctor are on the same page.
5. Take Test Results Home|
While some (not all) emergency rooms send a copy of your report to your primary care physician, it could take a few days for your doctor to receive it. Don’t wait any longer than you have to – always ask for a copy of all lab tests and reports. Place the reports with your medical records and take them with you to your follow-up appointment.
If you find yourself in an emergency situation, dial 9-1-1 immediately. For more information about the Emergency Care department at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, call (727) 819-2929 or click here.