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Your Arrival at the Emergency Department
If you arrive at Thompson's Emergency Department as a "walk-in" patient (not brought in by Medics or Ambulance), you will be greeted by the Triage Nurse. He or she will assess your condition; gather information regarding your symptoms and medical history; and take your vital signs.
The Triage Nurse will determine the order in which patients need to be seen, according to the severity of their symptoms. While we try to see patients in the order of their arrival, patients with certain types of symptoms must be given priority. If there is not a treatment bed immediately available, the Triage Nurse will continually check your condition and keep you informed of your status. Please notify the Triage Nurse if your symptoms change or worsen.
Your medical team will determine the type of tests you need based on your symptoms and medical history. Once you have been taken to a treatment room, your primary nurse and ED technician will prepare you for your exam, obtain additional information and take your vital signs. Blood samples and other types of tests may begin. Be sure to have your medication list ready, and to let the nurse know of any allergies you have, especially to medications or latex.
To expedite your visit, staff may request visitors wait in the waiting area until these initial procedures have been done. You may be in the ED for several hours, particularly if you have a medical problem that requires many tests. ED physicians also may consult with another specialist about your condition to provide you with the best care.
After preliminary information has been collected by your nurses and technicians, your Emergency Department physician will see you, obtain a more focused history and perform a physical examination. The physician may need to repeat some questions asked of you previously to clarify your history. Initial test results may be available for review at this point, and the physician may order further testing and treatments as well. If you have specific questions or concerns, please ask the physician for clarification.
To determine the reason for your symptoms, the ED physician may order one or more tests including blood tests, EKGs, x-rays or other procedures. All of these tests require time for the results to be processed and available to the physician. The ED staff will keep you informed regarding the status of your test results.
Discharge from the Emergency Department
When your tests and treatments are finished, you will be informed of your ED diagnosis and treatment plan. Many illnesses will require follow-up after the ED visit. Sometimes, a definite diagnosis cannot be determined during your ED stay and further testing may be required as an outpatient. In many cases, the ED physician may also prescribe medications or other additional treatments.
Whatever your diagnosis, your ED treatment team will review your discharge instructions and provide additional information and instruction to help you care for yourself at home. You will also be given specific instructions for when to see the follow-up physician. If you have any questions or concerns, please let your ED nurse or physician know.