The emergency room is one of the last places you want to be, but if you do have to go there, doctors say be sure you're prepared.
Pre-planning for an emergency can make your ER visit as quick and safe as possible, according to Dr. Glenn Hardesty, an emergency medicine physician at Texas Health Resources.
Follow these tips to help pre-plan:
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Have a clear concise story. You have less than, on average, five minutes with a triage nurse to tell him or her what happened. Doctors say stay focused with what's hurting you. Make it a single complaint.
Have one person tell the story of what happened. If it's not you, take someone with you, but don't bring ten family members, who will tell ten different stories. A single story gives doctors a clearer picture of what's going on with you.
Know what specialty hospitals in your area. For example, if your child has a specialized condition, take him or her to a pediatric emergency department, if there's one nearby.
Know the names of your medications, or at least know why you take them.
Keep a printed copy of your medical history handy and take it with you.
Doctors say these tips can make your trip faster as safer.
It's important the right information is conveyed to your health care provider when minutes matter the most.
"Unfortunately, everyone, sometime in their life, ends up in the emergency department. Pre-planning for your emergency is the difference between getting taken care of quickly and perhaps a longer visit in the emergency department," said Hardesty.