What to Expect

Making your ER visit less stressful

Emergencies are stressful situations. We work hard to make them less so. Understanding what to expect will ease your mind and help us to provide the best care.

What happens when I arrive?

You will be greeted by a nurse or paramedic and “triaged” to determine your level of urgency. You also may be signed in by our registration staff. If you need immediate attention, a family member can register for you. In some cases, triage and registration will take place at the bedside. Do not eat or drink anything while you wait for treatment unless your nurse is OK with you doing so.

How long will I have to wait?

During high volume periods, there may be a short wait to be greeted and registered. If many people are waiting, the most seriously ill or injured will be seen first. So you may see people receive treatment ahead of you who came in after you. When it’s busy, we will make every effort to notify you of delays.

What happens next?

You’ll be taken to a treatment room where a nurse will ask detailed questions to determine your immediate needs. In order to speed your care, your nurse may order labs or x-rays based on your symptoms. Your care also may be coordinated through other departments within the hospital. This could include our radiology, laboratory, or inpatient areas. A nurse will always be nearby to answer questions. If you feel your condition worsening, please inform a staff member immediately.

Who will be treating me?

You will be treated by board certified Emergency Medicine specialists and highly trained nurses who specialize in emergency care. You may be treated by a physician assistant, under the supervision of a doctor, depending on your injury or condition. You also may interact with allied health professionals including paramedics, nursing assistants, unit clerks, social workers and respiratory therapists.

What should I bring with me from home?

There are several things you can bring with you that will help your visit go more smoothly and comfortably, including:

  • List of your current medications. Include the dosage and number of times taken per day and any over-the-counter medications.
  • Driver’s license or other form of identification and insurance cards.
  • List of current physicians including office phone numbers, fax numbers and addresses.
  • Record of any drug or food allergies and reactions.
  • Immunizations record including tetanus and flu vaccines.
  • Glasses and something to pass the time.

Remember, your main focus in an emergency is getting care as quickly as possible. If you can, bring a companion with you to assist with check in, keep you company, and help you remember questions and discharge instructions.

What happens after my evaluation is complete?

You’ll be sent home with instructions to care for your condition, a recommended date and physician for follow-up care, and information on any prescriptions you may receive.

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If you are having an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. Please do not utilize this scheduling feature for urgent medical situations.

For your safety please select a MyChart Video Visit on Demand or call our MyCare Advice Line at 844-262-1949 before scheduling if: You currently have a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, you are experiencing a new loss of taste and/or sense of smell, in the past 21 days, you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, in the past 14 days, you have had contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19. Or, you have experienced two or more of the following symptoms in the last 3 days: fever, chills, drenching sweats, new cough, shortness of breath, body aches, headache, sore throat, runny nose or nasal congestion, or nausea/vomiting/diarrhea.

Henry Ford Health System is committed to ensuring our Deaf or hard-of-hearing patients and visitors have equal access to all services. We provide the appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, TTYs and other assistive listening devices, at no cost. To request assistance, call 313-916-1896 or email CommunicationAccess@hfhs.org.

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