Finding yourself in need of ER services is never a fun experience. Whether you’re there due to a work-related injury, car accident, or even a construction-related mishap, it can be overwhelming and quite confusing. The whole scenario can feel 10 times worse if you don’t know what to expect, or how you can possibly prepare for such circumstances. Here are five things you should know when visiting the emergency room. The list below will explain how you can ready yourself before an emergency occurs, what to expect during your visit (besides treatment of course), and what to do once you are discharged.
1. Create an Emergency File
The American College of Emergency Physicians highly suggests making an emergency file in case of an urgent medical situation. It’s necessary for doctors to have certain personal information about the patient to begin proper treatment. This file should include a list of medications you take, your insurance cards, any allergies (predominantly drug-related), and chronic conditions, as well as details of any past operations you’ve had.
2. Out of Pocket Costs
It’s important to ask about any costs that will be billed to you after your visit. Even if you seek help at a hospital that is approved by your health insurance plan, the possibility of receiving a bill still remains. Facilities sometimes employ doctors that do not partake in your group plan. These may include ER physicians, pathologists, and radiologists. Some health insurance plans discourage ER visits that are not “necessary” by upping the co-pay or deductible if you are not admitted. If it is not a true emergency and there is one nearby, consider and Urgent Care facility instead of the ER.
3. The Waiting Game
Understand that if your emergency is not extremely urgent, you will likely have to sit in the waiting room. The longer you sit in a hospital, the greater your risk of catching colds or flu, especially in the Fall and Winter. Doctors tend to the most severe cases first. In addition to the initial wait, you may also have to wait for test results before treatment can continue or you are discharged.
4. Ask If There is a Social Worker Available
It can be pretty scary when you’re in the ER even if you know what to expect. Many hospitals have social workers who can help you figure out problems with your insurance and health plan approvals. If you are unsure about something, ask an employee if there is someone on staff that you can talk to.
5. Before You Leave…
It’s a good idea to have all of your discharge instructions written down. The information recorded should cover the names of the physicians that took care of you, the diagnosis you received as a result of the visit, new prescriptions, and any additional instructions, such as physical restrictions, follow up appointments, or diet changes. Obviously, this data is important to assist you in the recovery process. However, it is also helpful to have in case you become a victim of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice can include a misdiagnosis, birth injuries, surgical errors, or other negligent act. In the event that this happens, you may be entitled to compensation, in which case it is imperative that you contact an attorney. Call our law firm at 314-252-9937, for more information or to schedule a free consultation.