How to prepare for an ER visit
The best ways to prepare to see an ER physician are to get help from a doctor and avoid the temptation to rush through the appointment.
Find out how to avoid the most common ER problems and get the best care with this guide.
Talk to your doctor.
The best way to find out what to expect is to talk to your own doctor about what to look for, what to avoid and how to deal with it.
Dr. Steven F. Orenstein, M.D., a board-certified emergency medicine physician in private practice, says it’s not enough to have a clear understanding of what’s wrong.
“There’s no reason to assume the ER is a safe place,” he says.
But you need to understand the potential risks and limitations and what you need before you start to visit the ER.”
If you can’t figure it out, Orensteins advice is to go to a nurse practitioner or opt for a doctor.
If you do end up in the ER, you should avoid calling an ambulance, he says, because emergency care patients may not be able to wait.
You also should not call 911 for anything you need, and don’t call an ambulance if you can avoid it.
“You need to make sure that you’re not going to cause an emergency,” Orenstins says.
And make sure you don’t make a big deal about it.
You should also avoid calling your parents or other family members or strangers to find your doctor and ask about a doctor appointment.
If your doctor is busy, try to get an appointment with your local emergency room, but you should wait for him or her to arrive.
Ask for help.
When you’re in the emergency room for a problem, don’t just try to find an easy way to solve it.
Talk about the problem with your doctor, and talk about what you could do to get relief.
Ostenstein says a good place to start is to say, “I have some pain in my neck,” or, “It hurts when I stand up,” or “I feel a little dizzy.”
“If you can talk about it, it will be easier to get the right answers,” he adds.
And don’t be afraid to ask for help if you have no idea what to do or if you feel overwhelmed.
Osenstein says you should ask about medications or a prescription if you’re experiencing pain, but don’t worry if you don.
Ask about how to make it better.
“Don’t assume that because you can do something, you can just do it,” he advises.
“If something is causing you pain, there is an alternative treatment.
You can find a doctor who has done it.”
Be ready to be overwhelmed.
Odenstein and Orensstein have patients who’ve been hospitalized with spinal cord injuries, stroke and other serious injuries.
And, Ostensteins says, most patients in these situations have no immediate physical symptoms and aren’t suffering from any of the other common ER symptoms.
But they may have symptoms that could be related to the underlying condition, like a history of heart attacks or stroke, or may not respond to conventional treatments.
“They are in a situation where the underlying issue is causing them pain and not responding to treatment,” Ostenstins explains.
“In that situation, it may be necessary to seek out an ER specialist or to take the time to seek help.”
Get some information.
Oneurs is a big time when we tend to wait for information about the condition that is causing our pain, Oenstins points out.
“We’re looking for the answers to the questions we have.
We need to get some information.”
But you also need to ask your doctor about any side effects you may be experiencing, and how long you should stay in the hospital for.
And if you do have some side effects, it’s important to find them out so you can address them.
“Be prepared to have those side effects in the future,” Oensteins advises.
When it comes to pain, it is important to look at the entire picture.
“One thing that may not come up is the severity of the pain or the severity the underlying disease is causing,” Osenstins cautions.
“That’s why it’s critical to look into everything and understand everything.”
If your pain is severe, Osensteins suggests you see a doctor, especially if you’ve been in an emergency room before and the doctor has suggested a pain-relieving medication.
“This doctor may be the only doctor who can treat the underlying cause of your pain,” he notes.
“The next step is to find a pain specialist who can address the underlying problem.”
And if your pain has not resolved within the first few weeks of treatment, you might want to try something else.
“For some people, that’s the only option,” Otenstein says.
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