Here are five things you can do to help your loved one in the ER:
1. Write down all the patient’s medications or put them in a resealable bag and bring them with you. And don’t forget to include over-the-counter pills and any herbal medications.
2. If a child swallows a substance that might be dangerous, bring the original container with you. If the ER staff knows what the product is, they can call poison control and get specific treatments. Otherwise, it can be difficult to determine the source.
3. If English isn’t the patient’s native language, bring an adult translator. Often, people recruit school-aged children to translate, but medical procedures can be too complicated or inappropriate for them to talk about. The ER staff can call a translation service in a pinch. But things will go much more smoothly if a bilingual adult is available.
4. If an event occurred — your child suffered what seemed like a seizure
or your elderly father became disoriented — bring in the person who saw exactly what happened. Because speed is of the essence, getting this firsthand information can help in making an accurate diagnosis faster.
5. Don’t leave the emergency department without written instructions. And don’t be afraid to ask questions and have the doctor clarify all aspects of the patient’s condition and follow up care. Carefully follow the after care instructions, including any additional doctor or specialist appointments.