What to Expect in the Emergency Room


What to Expect in the Emergency Room

Thank you for trusting Virtua with your health care needs. We understand a visit to the ER can be stressful for you and your family. Our team is here to make this visit a positive one.

We examine all of our patients as quickly as we can, but our sickest patients will be cared for first. We encourage you to take an active role in your care, including letting us know if you are in pain or want an update on the status of your care. If you have any questions or concerns during your visit, please ask to speak to the charge nurse, assistant manager, or nurse director. You can find our ER locations and phone numbers here.

Food and Water
During your stay in the emergency department, please do not eat or drink anything before checking with your nurse or doctor. Eating and drinking can interfere with tests you may need, delay procedures, or even hurt you.

Lab and Imaging Tests
As part of a complete assessment of your medical condition, your team may order blood tests, X-rays, medications, and other tests or treatments.

Lab tests may take an hour or longer to run. If you have waited for results for more than 90 minutes, check with your nurse.

X-rays, ultrasounds, computerized tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provide detailed images of your body and help to diagnose injuries and illnesses. These tests can take several hours to complete and may require you to stay longer in the emergency department.

To see your lab and radiology results while in the emergency department, download the MyChart app on your phone. Learn more here.

Pain and Other Medications
We want to make you as comfortable as possible during your visit. This includes possibly giving you pain medication.

Pain medication can make you unsteady, dizzy, or sleepy. Please do not get up without help. For your safety, we will keep the side rails of your bed up when you are lying down.

If you experience any side effects or have any questions about your pain medication, speak to your nurse.

Reducing Your Fall Risk
Not feeling well, being in a strange place with different types of flooring, medications, and bedside medical equipment can increase your risk of falling. You may receive a special band on your wrist to alert staff you are at higher risk of falling and may need extra help. We encourage all patients to:

  • Use your call bell to ask for help.
  • Do not get up without asking for help.
  • Wear slippers or shoes to reduce your chance of falling.

Language Translation and Deaf Assistance Services
Help is available for anyone who does not speak English, is deaf, or hard of hearing. All services are provided free of charge. If you require such assistance, please tell a member of your care team.

Communicating with Our Team
At Virtua, we use “Bedside Safety Reports” to help keep you and your family involved in your care. We encourage you to actively participate in discussions, let us know of any pain or concerns you may have about your care, and provide feedback.

If you have any questions or concerns during your visit please ask to speak to the charge nurse, assistant manager, or nurse director.

Leaving the Hospital
If you are not being admitted to the hospital, you will be discharged, or released, once you are feeling better. You will be given written instructions on how to care for your illness or injury, along with prescriptions for any medicines you will need. Review these instructions with your care provider to make sure you understand them.

It is important to follow your discharge orders and arrange an appointment with your primary care doctor or specialist, if needed. Please ask a member of your team if you need a primary care doctor or specialist. If you do not improve as expected or your symptoms return, return to the hospital.

Your Feedback Is Important to Us
A couple of weeks after your visit, you may receive a satisfaction survey from NRC Health. NRC is a company that specializes in conducting patient satisfaction surveys. We ask that you complete and return it to help us improve our care. If you do not receive a survey, as they are randomly sent, please feel free to contact an emergency department nurse director to share your feedback.

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