The emergency department of a hospital operates 24/7 every day, ensuring that anyone who needs immediate medical care gets treated quickly. A visit to the emergency department can be scary, especially when the unpredictable happens.
So what usually happens in an emergency department? Here are some functions of the emergency department in hospitals:
- When you first arrive at the emergency department, you will be registered and your condition will be assessed by a triage nurse. This assessment is called triage and determines whether you are in need of immediate attention or otherwise. The triage is to ensure that the most critical patients get treated first.
Categories of triage:
- Category 1 – Resuscitation (For heart attack cases, car accidents)
- Category 2 – Emergency (Blood loss, overdoses)
- Category 3 – Urgent (Breathing difficulties, infections)
- Category 4 – Semi-urgent (Bone fractures, eye inflammations)
- Category 5 – Non-urgent (Cuts, colds)
- Once you have been assessed, you will be consulted to varying specialties according to your conditions. The waiting time may vary according to how critical your condition is. A physician will attend to you and perform an exam. Further diagnostic testing such as lab work or an EKG may also be performed.
- Depending on your condition and the examination done by the physician, they will then decide whether you should be discharged or admitted for further treatments.
- If you are admitted, a nurse will then complete your admission and contact your family and inform them of your condition. If the attending physician decides that you are stable enough to be discharged, you will be consulted for your care and follow-up appointments.
The emergency department of every hospital serves to treat people with major trauma or serious injuries. If you are experiencing shortness of breath, wheezing or serious head injuries, or if your loved ones are unconscious, immediately call an ambulance or go to your nearest emergency department for immediate medical care. Don’t worry if you feel like your symptoms aren’t enough to be attended to. You will be assessed and treated if needed to!