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Preparing for an Emergency Room Visit



Emergencies are just that – emergencies! You don’t plan for them to happen. But most of us at some point or another find ourselves in an emergency room, either for ourselves or a loved one. When the emergency happens, all you can think about is getting to that emergency room as fast as possible.

If you arrive by ambulance or if you are unconscious, you receive immediate care. Otherwise, a triage nurse assesses your condition.


When you check in at the desk, they will ask you for:

· Your name

· Date of birth

· Gender

· mailing address

· name and phone number of primary care doctor

· photo ID

· list of current medications

· health insurance card

· Medicare card if applicable

· Emergency contact information

· Reason for your emergency care visit


On a recent visit we were also asked if there was a Financial Power of Attorney and a Living Will/Advance Directive. They also wanted a list of other regularly seen doctors.


If you are upright and mobile, you are taken to an area where your vitals are taken. From that initial interview other tests may be requested so the team can learn more about your problem. On our visit my husband had an EKG, a CT scan, and an X-ray. For each of these he was taken to another area for the test and then returned to the waiting area.


Plan on being in the waiting area for a long time. We were in the waiting room eleven hours and over twelve hours at the emergency center. I did have enough experience to know to bring reading material and some water. There will probably be some snack machines but when we were there not all were working including the coffee machine. Also, the person who is there with the emergency will very likely get cold. Since I had driven us to the emergency room I could run back to the car for extra sweaters and water.


At the end of about eleven hours, we did get to a back room to see a doctor. The last test, the X-ray, showed that he had aspiration pneumonia. He was given medicine and liquids through a drip and a prescription for home. We were lucky in that he did not have to get admitted to a hospital.


During that entire time, I felt like the Emergency room personnel were working hard and doing the best they could. Naturally, our emergency happened on a weekend which is a busier time and recently a large hospital had closed down so this hospital was covering more people than it had been set up for.


My challenge to you is to have a folder or binder to grab with all documents for each member of your family. Also, knowing ahead of time what to expect lowers your frustration and stress levels.


If you are struggling with developing an organizational plan to organize your files and medical records or just want guidance with decluttering your space, join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space for You virtual support group.


Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, author of four books as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.





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