Avoid the Hospital Emergency Room Wait

The emergency room is often how people enter the hospital. Something is wrong, so they go to the emergency room, where they may be treated and released or may be admitted to the hospital. But, if your problem isn’t life threatening, you may wait for hours in the ER.

If you need hospital treatment for an ongoing condition, such as congestive heart failure or diabetes, but don’t need emergency care, call your doctor. You can work with your doctor to be admitted to the hospital directly, thereby avoiding the long wait in the ER and potentially saving time and money.

As obvious as it may sound, the ER is designed for emergencies. Every patient is evaluated and cared for in the order of urgency and severity. If your ongoing problem isn’t life threatening, you could be waiting a long time for attention.

If you have a doctor who regularly sees you for your healthcare needs, it’s much better to have that doctor determine what you need and when you should be hospitalized because they know your medical history.

The way to avoid wasting time in the emergency room is to talk to your doctor ahead of time.

Ask your doctor:

  1. What hospital does your doctor use?
  2. Does that hospital have a direct admit policy?
  3. If your doctor thinks you should be in the hospital, will he or she write an order to have you directly admitted to a room?
  4. What days of the week and times of day does the hospital accept direct admissions?

Having this discussion with your doctor in advance will save you the time and expense of having to sit in the emergency room for hours waiting to be admitted to the hospital.


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What You Need to Know Before Going to the Hospital

When you or a loved one need medical care at a hospital, the situation is stressful enough without having to worry about what bills might pop up later. In this short video, I go over the difference between going to the ER and being admitted to the hospital, whether Medicare covers hospital stays, and how health insurance treats ER visits vs. hospital admissions. Watch this video now so you’ll be prepared to ask the right questions if you find yourself a loved one in the hospital.


Confused about health insurance? Get my new book Choose Your Best Health Insurance for detailed assistance on how to decide which insurance plan is right for you and your family.

About Do Not Resuscitate Orders

A recent news story highlighted an ethical dilemma that arose for doctors who were treating an unresponsive patient and found “Do Not Resuscitate” and a signature tattooed on the patient’s chest. Fortunately, the physicians eventually were able to locate an actual Do Not Resuscitate form for the patient and could, therefore, honor those wishes.

Just what is a Do Not Resuscitate, or DNR, order? A DNR expresses, in a legal format, your wishes not to have lifesaving measures performed should the need arise. This document provides clear direction for your hospital, assisted living facility or nursing home.

Upon admittance to a health facility, you may be asked about your wishes should an event arise where you are unable to answer in the moment. For example, if you stop breathing, have a heart issue, a stroke or any other condition that may put you in a position for life-saving measures, do you want the hospital to do everything possible to keep you alive?

There is no right answer. You may decide you want life-saving measures, or you may decide you don’t want them. When my parents were nearing the end of their lives, they made the decision that they had lived full lives and if they were to stop breathing, they wanted to be left to die. The point is that you should make this decision at a time when you are able to avoid the decision being made for you.

Although DNR is a common term, you may hear some hospitals refer to this as “no code,” which means they won’t call for help to revive you if you stop breathing or are unconscious. The hospital may also refer to “allowing a natural death,” which means the same thing.

If you haven’t already, discuss your Do Not Resuscitate wishes with your doctor, hospital or healthcare facility. They will let you know how to proceed with the proper paperwork.

Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/do-not-resuscitate-dnr-tattoo-leaves-doctors-debating-whether-to-save-his-life/

Do you want to learn more about navigating the health care system? Pick up my book Your Hospital Stay in which you can learn about the other documents you should have in place.