In a medical emergency, your priority should be getting the care you need as quickly as possible. We know that the current environment may add another layer to your concerns about emergencies, though. To help you feel confident about getting care quickly, we’re debunking four myths about getting emergency care.
Be Assured That It’s Safe to Go to an AdventHealth ER
Nothing is more important to us than you, and we’re taking extra measures to ensure you’re safe when you get ER care. “We want patients to come to the emergency department for treatment when they are sick. If they wait too long, they are sicker and may require more aggressive life saving measures,” says AHNSB ED Director, Julie Carter.
We’re employing new safety measures like:
- Caring for COVID-19 patients in separate areas
- Social distancing measures in waiting rooms
- Temperature testing at all entrances
- Universal masking policy for team members and patients
- Visitor restrictions
Julie adds, “We are limiting visitors. If there is a need for a visitor, we will allow one at a time depending on the individual situation (a child can have a parent, a confused patient or critically ill patient can have a visitor).”
Myth: If I go to the ER, I will get COVID-19.
Fact: Our ERs have protocols in place to protect patients from COVID-19.
The CDC has issued specific recommendations to prevent the spread of coronavirus in health care facilities, including ERs. We are closely following these safety measures to keep you safe from getting COVID-19 and taking extra precautions to keep you safe.
All patients who have symptoms of or confirmed cases of COVID-19 are cared for in separate areas and kept separate from other patients, so you won’t come into contact with someone who has COVID-19.
Other ways we’re keeping you safe in the ER include:
Temperature Testing at All Entrances
Before anyone can enter our facilities, they will have their temperature checked to ensure they do not have a fever (a common symptom of COVID-19).
Proper Use of Personal Protective Equipment
AdventHealth facilities have enough personal protective equipment for every team member, every day, to care for you safely.
Cleaning and Sanitizing All Facilities
The entire facility — including equipment, high-touch surfaces, the lobby, patient rooms and waiting areas — is being frequently cleaned and sanitized.
Social Distancing Guides in Waiting Rooms
In waiting areas, you may notice stickers on the floor reading “Here’s Your Spot,” for where to stand, and covers on some seats to ensure people are a safe distance apart when standing or sitting.
Proper Hand-Washing Requirements
Our team members and health care providers are required to wash their hands often, keeping themselves and you safe.
Myth: I should avoid the ER at all costs.
Fact: If you’re having a medical emergency, the ER is the best place to get treatment in a timely manner.
“We are waiting to see you — don't wait to see us,” says AHNSB ER Physician, Dr. Peter Riga, adding, “Most medical illnesses are progressive in nature. The sooner you seek our care the sooner we can restore your health and wellness.”
When you or a loved one is having a medical emergency, timely treatment matters to potentially save a life. The ER is where you should go to get prompt care for critical or life-threatening medical problems — even during a pandemic. It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and all AdventHealth ERs have taken extra safety measures to address your emergency and keep you safe from getting sick.
Call 911 or go directly to the ER if you or a loved one has any of these medical emergencies:
- Animal bite
- Difficulty breathing
- Major head injury
- Serious allergic reaction
- Severe abdominal pain
- Severe injury like a broken bone, burns or a large wound
- Stroke or heart attack
- Vomiting or coughing up blood
You should also seek emergency care if you think you or a loved one is experiencing life-threatening COVID-19 symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Bluish lips or face
- Confusion or trouble waking up
- Ongoing pain or pressure in your chest
- Trouble breathing
Myth: I can wait to seek emergency care until stay-at-home orders are lifted.
Fact: It is important to seek emergency care immediately. Serious conditions such as a heart attack or stroke need medical attention at the first signs and symptoms.
“Sadly, people are waiting for problems that would be more easily treated had they come in sooner, says Dr. Riga. “We pledge to keep you safe while you're here. I pledge to keep you safe by wearing a mask, washing my hands and ensuring appropriate social and professional distancing when possible.”
Delaying care for a medical emergency can be harmful to your health or the health of a loved one. Seconds can matter in some cases, such as if you or a loved one is having a heart attack or stroke. Timely treatment protects your heart and brain from lasting damage.
Read more here about the possible signs and symptoms of a heart attack and stroke. You’ll also learn about other serious symptoms and conditions that requires an immediate call to 911 or a trip to the ER.
Myth: If I go to the ER, they will be too overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients to treat me.
Fact: Our experts have the capacity to assess and triage all emergencies and provide timely care.
Our ER teams are making sure everyone who comes to the ER receives the care they need. You can trust that a skilled emergency medical team will be ready and available to help you.
Know that our health care providers are also well equipped with ample personal protective equipment (PPE), like masks and gloves. To help them better care for you, make sure you have these items when you arrive:
- Mask or cloth face covering
- List of any allergies you have
- List of all your medicines
- Photo ID
- Your medical history
- Your insurance card
You may also want to bring with you the emergency contact information of a family member, in case that person can’t come into the ER with you. Hospitals are limiting visitors inside their facilities, per the latest guidance from the CDC. This article can help you further prepare for an unexpected trip to the ER.
Read more here about how we’re protecting you and what steps you can take to protect yourself if you or a loved one needs to come to the ER.
Dedicated to Your Safe ER Visit
Nothing is more important to us than your health and well-being. You can rest assured that we’re here for you in any emergency, and that you can get in-person ER care safely. Learn more about ER care at AdventHealth.