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What to expect when you get to the ER

A trip to the Emergency Department can be confusing and even frightening – especially if it’s the first time. Here is some information about the Hartford Hospital Emergency Department.

Patient Priority

Upon arrival, you will be seen by a triage nurse who will assess your condition and determined the level of care you will likely need. Patients who have a critical or life-threatening illness or injury are treated immediately.

We attempt to see every patient as quickly as we can. We do not care for patients on a “first come, first served” basis. Patients who arrive after you may be taken in from the waiting room before you. These patients may be seen in a different area.

In addition, availability of emergency care continually changes due to patients arriving by ambulance, car or helicopter. If, during your visit, you feel that your complaint has worsened, please see the triage nurse.

Upon arrival a triage nurse will talk to you about your condition and decide the level of care you will need. Patients who have a critical or life-threatening illness or injury are treated immediately. Others are screened and put in one of several areas.

Emergency Department Areas

Upon arrival, a triage nurse will talk to you about your condition and decide the level of care you will need. Patients who have a critical or life-threatening illness or injury are treated immediately. Others are screened and put in one of several areas.

Main Emergency Department
For patients of all ages that have a variety of illness and/or injuries. Most patients are seen here.

Gold Pod
For patients with less serious illnesses who generally do not require complex evaluations and/or testing. At times these patients are seen ahead of other patients because availability of treatment space varies.

Critical Care Area
For patients who require immediate attention due to a limb or life-threatening illness or injury.

Mental Health Area
For patients who are seeking care for mental health, alcohol or drug problems.

In the Treatment Room

Once in your treatment room, you will be asked to undress and put on a hospital gown.Your privacy is important to us and will be maintained to the best of our ability at all times. Please do not eat or drink anything before being seen by the physician.

Your nurse will come to your room to obtain your medical history, perform a brief exam and gather any specimes necessary for evaluation. Urine and blood specimens are commonly needed. Your provider will often review your information prior to arriving in your room.

Once again, a history and physical will be performed. It will then be decided if further studies are necessary.

Diagnostic Studies

Once you have been assessed, laboratory tests (blood and urine), x-rays, or EKG’s may be ordered. Most laboratory tests require more than one hour to be completed.

We may or may not be in contact with your primary care provider or a specialist. These communications are done on an as-needed basis and remain strictly confidential.

Admissions

If it is decided that you need to be admitted to the hospital, a specialist or your personal physician will determine further treatment and the best area of the hospital for you. You may have to wait for an available bed. While waiting for your room, you will receive continual care.

Follow-up Care

Discharge instructions will be given to you by your nurse. Prescriptions may be dispensed at this time as well. It is important to raise any questions or concerns you may have at this time.

Copies of your emergency department records and all test results are faxed to your personal physician if you have provided us with the doctor’s name. If you need a copy of the emergency department record, please call Health Information Management at 860.972.1281.

Your records cannot be released directly from the Emergency Department.