Nothing disrupts life like a trip to the ER. The reasons we end up there can be scary, or at the very least, anxiety-producing. But once there, you'll want to draw on the experience and advice of the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals so that hopefully, you won't end up there again. That includes following their instructions for post-ER care.
Here are some ER discharge tips to help you maximize your time in the ER and get back to your life faster.
Understand your diagnosis
Make sure you understand everything the medical staff has told you. Don't be embarrassed to ask them to explain things—again. If they're using clinical terms that are unfamiliar, ask them to translate in "layman's terms". You're not being a bother when you ask for more information or clarification; you're being an advocate for your own health.
Keep your discharge instructions
You'll likely receive a fair amount of paperwork at discharge. Some of it will be essential (prescriptions, follow-up instructions) and some of it will be less so, but keep all of it until you get home. There's a good chance it contains the answers to many of your questions. Be sure to ask the discharge nurse if you are unsure about any of the instructions.
Fill your prescriptions
If you receive a prescription, fill it as soon as possible. Follow the instructions for dosing and take it as directed. In some cases, if you stop taking a medication too soon, you may not entirely kick what's ailing you and you may have to start the whole process all over again.
Know when to be concerned
It's important to know what recovery from your symptoms should look or feel like. You may be told that your fever, pain or other symptoms should improve in a certain amount of time. But you also want to know what to look for if things don't get better and when you should be concerned. A lot will depend on your diagnosis and how serious your condition is. Make sure you understand what both recovery and relapse may look like for you.
Find out who to call
If you have a relapse or additional questions, who should you call? You may have several numbers on your discharge papers, including the main ER number and the attending physician. Or, is a call to your family doctor or specialist the best option? In the case of a relapse, should you head straight back to the ER? Having those questions answered ahead of time—and having the numbers handy—can give you peace of mind.
Follow through on your follow-up
It's always a good idea to follow up with your doctor—whether it's with your primary care physician or specialist— after a trip to the ER. If you don't have a primary care physician, you can make an appointment with one at your nearest CareNow Urgent Care clinic in Dallas-Fort Worth. If you've been instructed to see a specialist, make an appointment as soon as possible.
For medication refills related to common, non-emergency conditions, try Medical City Virtual Care and save $10 off your first visit with code BLOG10.
Some illnesses and injuries are unavoidable, but others can be prevented or minimized through diet and lifestyle changes. Knowing your risk factors is the first step in taking charge of your health.
Always call 911 for life-threatening emergencies.
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