The decisions are quick, peppered with lots of stress and adrenaline.
When someone needs immediate care, it is difficult to think about anything other than getting them to the hospital. At best, you are dealing with someone's need for emergency care. At worst, you are trying to save their life.
Unless you are doing life-saving measures such as CPR, there are ways you can help prepare someone for a trip to the Emergency Room.
If paramedics have arrived and are rendering first aid, you should take a few moments to gather some important items that will be needed upon arrival to the Emergency Room.
List of Medications
Hopefully, the patient is conscious and able to tell the paramedics, nurses and doctors his current medications. If not, you will need to gather the medicines and place them in a bag for the paramedics or for the ER triage nurse.
List of Allergies
Try to find out if the patient is allergic to any medicines. If the patient is not responsive, call relatives or friends who might know or look for a Medic Alert bracelet. You also can contact the patient's physician or pharmacy.
It's a good thing to keep medical history updated and in an accessible place. This is especially important if the patient has been dealing with chronic health issues. If you can find it, please provide this important information to the paramedics or to the ER triage nurse.
Today's medical community has remarkably quick access to patient information - especially if they are connected in a local healthcare network. That's why paramedics and nurses almost immediately ask for a patient's doctor's name and telephone number. Whether or not the patient's regular doctor comes to the hospital, emergency room doctors are the first to treat patients as they are presented to the ER. Being able to speak with family physicians can be helpful for ER doctors. Also, diagnosis and treatment information is sent to family physicians for follow up care.
If you are a friend or neighbor helping the patient, you will need telephone numbers (home and/or cell) of next of kin. If the patient has a mobile phone, take it. There's a good chance the phone contains all the contact information the ER staff will need.
Patients that need immediate care are not stopped at the hospital door to fill out financial forms. A family member usually handles those tasks at the hospital's registration desk. However, the hospital will need the patient's insurance card (including Medicare and supplemental plan information).
For legal reasons, hospitals need to confirm the patient's name with a face. A driver's license or state-issued identification care will do. Some hospitals can use a library or group membership card - as long as it has the patient's photograph.
Glasses and/or Hearing Aids
If the patient is conscious, he or she will need to sign papers and listen to nurses and doctors. If you have time to find these items, you can bring them to the ER.
Go Back Later for Non-Essentials
Once treatment has begun, you might wonder about items left behind - such as toiletries, a change of clothes and shoes. Tend to those later. The first priority is getting the patient assessed and treatment started.
Ask a friend or neighbor to check on the house, care for a pet or bring non-essential items to the hospital later.
Though stressful, taking a moment to collect important information and items can help the ER staff make good medical decisions and save time - both of which are critical in urgent care treatment and patient recovery.
Johnson Memorial Health recently opened a new Emergency Department as part of a new $47 million, state-of-the-art addition. The new 17,400 square-foot emergency care facility features more space, a new ambulance bay and a helicopter landing area.