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Emergency Department

How do you handle my pain? The nurse will ask you to describe your pain and rate it on a scale of 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain). Your rating of pain is one of the factors in determining your diagnosis and treatment. The physician will determine what medication is right to treat the pain. In order to make a correct diagnosis, some complaints (such as abdominal pain) require that pain medications not be given until after all tests and X-rays have been completed. Pain medication will affect your ability to drive. Do not drive if you receive pain medication in the ED.

What if I want specific medication for my pain? The ED physician will determine the best method of pain control based on your problem, past history and allergies. We do not refill prescriptions for pain medications written by your physicians. These must be refilled through the physician who originally prescribed the medication.

I am being discharged; how will I know what to do? The nurse will give you and go over printed discharge instructions and prescriptions recommended by the physician. Please ask questions about anything you do not understand. Should your condition change or worsen, please return to the ED or see your physician immediately. Remember: Request a school or work absence excuse before you leave the ED!

Important notice regarding lab work and X-rays The ED physician will review your X-rays for abnormalities, but a radiologist will read, interpret and issue a final report. Should reports differ from when you were in the ED, you will be notified of what to do. If abnormal lab results are reported after you leave, you will be contacted. It is important that you provide the correct address and phone number when checking into the ED.

Patient Satisfaction Card Everyone should receive a patient satisfaction card. The card is used to collect feedback from our patients to assist in improving the services we provide. If you do not receive a card, ask any member of the health care team to provide you one. Your comments are important. Thank you again for choosing University Hospital. n

1350 Walton Way Augusta, GA 30901 706.774.5060

9670.7424 [291943] 10.09

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Welcome to the Emergency Department Thank you for choosing University Hospital for your emergency care.

What happens to me when I come to the Emergency Department? First, a registered nurse will call you into the triage room to assess your condition. The triage nurse will take several vital signs, such as your blood pressure and temperature, and ask you questions about the reason for your visit, and your medical and surgical history. In order to assist the Emergency Department (ED) in providing the best care, it is important that you answer all questions accurately and completely.

I’ve told the nurse all about my condition, what happens next? After the interview process, the triage nurse will assign a category to your concern or medical problem. Patients are categorized from 1-5: categories 1-2 are emergent, 3 is urgent and 4-5 are non emergent. Emergent patients need emergency intervention and require immediate attention from the ED team, to include the physician. Urgent patients are usually sick, or have significantly abnormal vital signs, but do not have an immediate life-threatening condition. Non-emergent patients do not have a lifethreatening condition and have stable vital signs or moderately abnormal vital signs. The triage nurse is specially trained to make judgments and assign a category for each patient to determine what order they should each receive medical attention.

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What if I am urgent or non-emergent?

OK, I’m in an exam room. What happens next?

If the triage nurse determines that you do not have a life-threatening illness, you will be asked to return to the main lobby or minor treatment area until an exam room becomes available. If at any time you feel that your condition is getting worse, please go to the triage window to alert the triage nurse.

The staff will assist you in getting prepared for diagnostic tests (if needed) and examination by a physician. It may appear that you are “just waiting,” but the ED team is working to assess your condition and consulting with physicians on duty and sometimes with physicians on call.

What if a patient is called to an exam room that has not been waiting as long as I have?

Where is the doctor?

Patients are taken to exam rooms based on their condition, not on the time of arrival. Our goal is to see each patient immediately; however, there are times when the number of patients or the severity of their condition make delays unavoidable. Thank you for your patience. You will be seen as soon as possible.

ED physicians are each responsible for more than one patient at a time. A physician will come to your examination room and complete a medical screening based on the reason for your visit. The physician will review and interpret test results to determine the best treatment for you. In some cases, you may be seen by a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant, but your case will be reviewed by a physician before you are discharged.

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