There was a time when the local hospital emergency room was a person’s only choice for an illness or injury that wouldn’t wait for normal business hours.
Today, it’s one of a menu of options for such care, from urgent cares to neighborhood micro-hospitals and stand-alone ERs.
Defining an emergency
It starts with knowing what a health emergency is. Generally speaking, it’s a serious or life-threatening condition that requires immediate attention or advanced care such as heart attack, major broken bones and large wounds. Emergency rooms, whether they are attached to a hospital or are stand-alone, are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offer extensive testing options to care for life-threatening emergencies.
Have a Plan
In the event you are sick or have an emergency, you don’t want to be scrambling for where to go or what to do. Calling 911 is the obvious first step in the most serious of emergencies, but you should know what services are close to you for needs that don’t rise to such a level.
- Know where your closest emergency department is. Confirm level of care and what your insurance covers before a need arises.
- Download a virtual doctor tool, such as the Doctor On Demand app for your phone, for non-acute care any time.
- Find out if your primary care doctor provides same-day visits or offers after-hours care. This is often the best option for urgent, but non-emergency medical issues.
- For affordable after-hours care, find out if an urgent care facility is near you, and exactly what its capabilities are.
- Find out where the nearest accredited Chest Pain and Certified Stroke Centers are. These emergency departments provide the best care for these specific critical issues.
- Keep vital information with you, Keep a list in your wallet of such information as medications, allergies, primary care doctor and advanced directives.
- Know your insurance, such as if you have differing co-pays for urgent care, emergency care and doctor visits. When you have a true emergency, don’t worry about insurance and call 911 immediately.
To learn more, visit FindYourER.org
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Rachel Hamasaki, Marketing Manager at Good Samaritan Medical Center, and may be reached at 303-689-5278 or by email at Rachel.Hamasaki@sclhealth.org