Five Steps of Emergency Care

Sudden illness or injury can occur without warning, and while no one typically plans a trip to the Emergency Department, everyone should know what to expect after they arrive. 

Step 1 – Triage

Triage is the process of determining the severity of a patient’s condition. Patients with the most severe emergencies receive immediate treatment. In addition, patients whose conditions require the use of a special room, such as the Ear-Nose-Eye Room, are occasionally seen out of order of arrival. That is why some patients may receive medical care before you, even if they arrived at the ED after you.

A nurse will perform your initial assessment. He or she will ask the reason for your visit and record important medical history, as well as medication and allergy information. While you are waiting, you may want to make a list of your medications and keep it handy for future visits. We will take and record your vital sign measurements and a clerk will obtain information necessary to begin creating your ED records.

Step 2 – Registration

The registration process is important for two reasons: it lets the ED staff gather information for your patient record and we obtain your consent for treatment. Both are necessary to order diagnostic tests to enable the physician determine the best treatment option for you. Patient Access Specialists can conduct bedside registration for patients who have been taken directly to a treatment room.

Step 3 – Treatment

Every patient who comes to the Emergency Department at Corona Regional receives treatment from an attending physician or mid-level practitioner. Depending on your condition, a registered nurse may start an intravenous (IV) line. The IV line will allow the nursing staff to quickly administer medications or fluids that may be ordered by a physician. A nurse or technician may also take blood or urine samples, or they may send you for an X-ray or other imaging test before a physician sees you. Physicians may also order blood tests on an urgent basis. Test results help emergency medicine physicians assess your condition. The results could be available within one to two hours, while you are in the ED. However, some test results may require a longer wait. During your treatment, the staff in the ED will help make sure you are comfortable and informed.

Step 4 – Reevaluation

An ED physician or mid-level practitioner will reevaluate your condition after they receive your test results because the results may give them additional insight into the type of treatment you need. You know your body. How you feel can be just as important as your test results, so be sure to let physicians or nurses know about any pain or discomfort you may feel. The staff may also contact your personal physician for additional information. If you do not have a personal physician, we may refer you to an on-call physician. After your reevaluation, the attending physician determines whether you should be admitted to the hospital or treated and sent home.

Step 5 – Discharge

Part of our job is to keep you healthy long after you’ve left the ED. All patients receive written home-care instructions to follow when discharged. The instructions describe how you can safely care for your wound or illness, directions for your prescribed medications and recommendations for follow-up medical care. It is important to fully understand all instructions. Be sure to follow up with your personal or referred physician as well.