Whether you have been in an accident, gotten injured at the gym or simply have a pain you can’t explain, you never know when you will end up in the emergency room. If that happens to you, you’ll probably want to get in and get out fast. Use these tips to stay healthy and safe the next time you have to make an unexpected trip to the ER.
Get your ID checked
The emergency room is a busy place. And even though you may be dealing with the same hospital staff or assigned to the same bed for your entire stay, it’s important that your nurse or medication provider checks your ID twice by asking your name, Social Security number and date of birth, and/or scanning your hospital wristband before giving you any treatment. Your wristband should list your name, date of birth, date of admission and hospital identification number.
Wash your hands and ask your doctor to wash theirs
Make sure that you protect yourself against common infections or superbugs by washing your hands for at least 15 seconds using an alcohol sanitizing gel. While you’re at it, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor or nurse to wash their hands before treating you too.
A doctor’s time is limited, especially in the emergency room. Talk to your doctor about all of your symptoms and what’s worrying you. This will help your healthcare team properly diagnose and treat you. If you’re in pain or sick, it’s easy to forget to mention some of your questions or concerns, so bring along a friend or family member. He or she can help you oversee your healthcare needs if you forget anything or if you’re unable to speak for yourself.
Bring a list of your meds
In addition to discussing your symptoms and concerns, you’ll want to tell your doctor about any medications, vitamins and supplements you’re taking. This will help your doctor determine which medications to prescribe that won’t interfere with what you are already taking.
Make friends with the nurses
It’s possible for communication errors to happen during shift changes. Before your current nurse leaves for the day, you should go over your chart with him or her, and ask about any treatments you should expect to receive. Remember, your new nurse needs to double-check your wristband before administering any medication.
Check your overall health
Although you can’t predict trips to the emergency room, you might as well make it an opportunity to check in with your doctor about your overall health. Ask your doctor about your overall health and make sure to discuss any concerns that you have; prevention is an excellent strategy for protecting yourself against future infections. After all, as the Roman author Vergil said, “The greatest wealth is health,” so look after your health as best you can!