The outbreak of COVID-19 has induced general fear among many people and is keeping patients with medical conditions like heart attacks, strokes, acute appendicitis or other medical emergencies away from hospital ERs. They fear getting infected with the coronavirus or that hospitals are overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. This fear is real. Knowing about the hospital you choose for emergency treatment does matter. Know before you go.
ER Rooms During COVID-19
Statistics confirm that the number of patients visiting emergency rooms nationwide has dropped by 40 to 50 percent since the time pandemic hit. (CNBC)
It’s not surprising to see people are reluctant to go to the ER, given news stories of hospitals overwhelmed with coronavirus cases and mounting deaths. Most hospitals are doing everything they can to protect their patients from exposure to COVID-19 and are following all the necessary safety protocols to treat both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
Why is it Essential to Seek Emergency Care?
People with chronic health conditions may need to seek intermittent emergency care for a range of reasons. It could be a flair of symptoms for chronic disease such as COPD, asthma, diabetes, cancer, abdominal pain, or heart disease. The need for ER care has not diminished, but patients are fearful and not seeking critical care. By delaying treatment, we are seeing an increase in preventable deaths.
Advice on an ER Visit During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Heart Foundation offers the following advice for people living with chronic conditions during COVID-19:
- Keep looking after your health and stay connected with your doctor
- Get your annual flu vaccination
- Practice physical distancing and good hand hygiene
- Stay active and eat a healthy diet.
Most importantly, don’t ignore a medical emergency. If you go to the ER, you and your loved ones need to prepare in a number of ways. Some hospitals are not allowing visitors to accompany patients to lessen exposure to COVID-19. This preventive measure is difficult for families concerned about their loved one, so knowing the hospital admissions protocol is going to lessen stress at the time of and ER emergency.
The CDC recommends precautionary measures that should be taken while visiting an ER.
- Wear a mask or cloth face covering, if possible. Some people infected with coronavirus may not have symptoms, putting others at risk for infection. So the CDC now recommends that people wear a cloth face covering over their mouth and nose while in a community setting. This guidance extends to public places to include hospital emergency rooms.
- Keep up social distancing. While in the ER lobby, maintain a distance of 6 feet between you and other patients and visitors. Even though you are separate from patients being treated for COVID-19, the CDC reports some people can carry the virus without having symptoms.
- Wash your hands often. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or touching a public surface. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid high-touch surfaces, where possible. Use your elbow or cover your hand with a tissue or sleeve if you must touch something. Frequently touched surfaces include elevator buttons, door handles, and handrails.
- Don’t touch your face. As good protection against many types of viruses, always try not to touch your face, nose, eyes, and hair. It is how germs on your hands can infect you.
You Have A Choice
Most importantly, you have a choice on where you go for emergency care. Our facilities treat only emergency patients. Patients who are not ER candidates and who attempt to utilize local emergency facilities for minor emergencies are encouraged to visit an urgent care clinic or their primary care physician. By vetting non-emergency conditions and having fewer patients, our ER waiting rooms do not back up with patients who do not have life threatening health issues. Our wait times to be seen by a Board-Certified ER physician are minimal.
Over the Top Treatment
Our emergency rooms go above and beyond the COVID-19 protocol keeping all common areas sanitized and sparkling clean. You’ll feel and see the difference from the time you enter the facility to our exam room accommodations. Our facilities with patient rooms are beautiful as well as functional. We want you to feel comfortable and at home. We provide spa-like patient accommodations and creature comforts such as complimentary gourmet coffees, snacks and patient hygiene convenience items. You only need to ask, and we will comply with just about any request. There is no comparison to your experience in our ER with any other. We are fierce patient advocates.
In the event of a medical emergency, we hope that you choose us for your emergency care. Our five-star Google Reviews and accolades from past patients validate our patient experience; we demand healthcare excellence and so should you.
Health, A., 2020. How We’re Keeping You Safe In An Emergency. Advent Health. Available at: https://www.adventhealth.com/blog/how-were-keeping-you-safe-emergency
Blogs, W., 2020. Coronavirus: Can I Still Visit The Doctor Or Hospital? WebMD https://www.webmd.com/lung/doctor-hospital-visits-not-coronavirus#1
The Conversation. 2020. Even In A Pandemic, Continue With Routine Health Care And Don’t Ignore A Medical Emergency. https://theconversation.com/even-in-a-pandemic-continue-with-routine-health-care-and-dont-ignore-a-medical-emergency-136246
Feuer, W., 2020. Doctors Worry The Coronavirus Is Keeping Patients Away From US Hospitals As ER Visits Drop: ‘Heart Attacks Don’t Stop’. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/14/doctors-worry-the-coronavirus-is-keeping-patients-away-from-us-hospitals-as-er-visits-drop-heart-attacks-dont-stop.html
News, A., 2020. Is It Safe To Go To The Hospital During COVID-19 Pandemic? Doctors Say Yes. www.heart.org. https://www.heart.org/en/news/2020/05/04/is-it-safe-to-go-to-the-hospital-during-covid-19-pandemic-doctors-say-yes
Crouch, M., 2020. What To Expect At An ER Visit During Coronavirus. AARP https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/er-precautions-coronavirus.html