08-02-2015, 12:19 AM   #1
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ER Checklist

There was an old thread up before about things you should take to the ER as well as helpful tips once you're there. This is a new and hopefully improved thread on the same topic.

Since we all have a disease that could turn emergent at any given point, I think the first thing suggested is to familiarize your self with the hospitals in your area. Do your research. How are their reviews? How far away is it from where you live? Do they have an established Gastro Unit? You also want to consider whether or not your doctor has rights there.

When an emergency does come up, use your best judgement. Go to the closest hospital regardless of above factors if the emergency is severe.

Some hospitals will allow you to check in online or call in when you are on your way. It may not be an option, but if it is, it is a useful tool. It may save the insufferable time that everyone has to deal with in the waiting room.

Once your are there, let triage know about all of your symptoms, even if you don't think they are relevant. You never know, they may be. It is also important to tell them about ALL of the meds or drugs you have taken that day. Some of the meds they push through the IV are very strong and can have adverse reactions with other things already in your system. The ER staff is not there to judge you, they just want to help.

The other thread went into detail about having an ID and proof of insurance. While I do think these are important, I don't feel a need to go into great detail. The ID is self explanatory. As for insurance, if you don't have insurance, they can't turn you away. It is against the law, at least in the US. I can't speak for any other country.

A few things that the other thread mentioned that may or may not be useful to you:

A light blanket: I don't see a need. I have never been in an ER that doesn't have blankets.

Cash in small bills: Again I don't see a need. The other thread mentioned ordering breadsticks or outside food. Honestly, if you are in the ER for GI issues, the last thing you want to do is order takeout. One, you are just going to upset your stomach even more. Two, it looks poorly and you will probably be discharged. It may be beneficial to have change on you if you want to get a drink out of the vending machine or something. But like I said with the blanket, the ER keeps those things in stock.

I would definitely bring your phone charger. You never know how long you are going to be there and no one likes a dead phone.

Another thing that you can do, and I know of a few people around here that do this. Keep an emergency bag ready. Put things like a toothbrush, personal hygiene products, a fresh change of clothes. Things that you can grab in a rush in case you get admitted and have to spend the night.

I am sure I will add things to this thread as time goes on, this is all I can think of for right now. I hope this thread is helpful
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Last edited by Lisa; 08-05-2015 at 10:33 AM. Reason: fixed minor typos. :-)
08-04-2015, 08:52 AM   #2
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Thanks for this post, Afidz! I think this is quite helpful. One thing I would add - I would say that particularly for those of us in the US, make sure to know ahead of time what hospitals do and do not take your insurance. That way, when you need to go to the hospital, you have a good idea of which ones you can and shouldn't go to.

Also, here's the thread in which people discussed what items to pack in a "go bag":
08-04-2015, 10:28 AM   #3
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Can I suggest some sort of recent summary letter from the GI doc (not your general practioner)? As one would expect, ER staff have to take some patient information with a pinch of salt, and having some description of written proof would be useful.
For those living abroad, this summary letter would be particularly useful in local language. For example, I have lots of detailed reports in english, but its the one in German which I take to the ER - and I know its the one they read first no matter what.
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08-05-2015, 05:06 AM   #4
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I have a small file made up for both of the kids and keep them in a desk drawer near the front door so that any trip to Emergency means I can quickly grab it on the way out. It contains copies of the following:
  • The GP has them both on a management plan so that is included and replaced as each new plan is generated. The advantage of this document is it includes all current medications and lists any other diagnoses they have.
  • Blood results for the past 12 months.
  • Since scoping and imaging isnít done that frequently I have results of all of those since diagnosis.
  • The most recent specialists letter.
  • And finally discharge summaries from any previous Crohnís related hospital stays.

It has proved invaluable in the past and the hospital staff appreciate having it at hand. It cuts down on the questions that they need to ask you and allows the staff to concentrate on the here and now instead of trying to build a detailed past history. it also alleviates you having to rely on your memory at what is a stressful time.

I also take the files when we go away on holidays cause you just never know.

Mum of 2 kids with Crohn's.
08-07-2015, 07:54 AM   #5
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If at all possible, don't drive yourself to the ER. If your condition is bad enough to consider the ER, your condition may be bad enough to impair your driving.

You should also consider calling the emergency number (911 in the US) and having the local EMS or ambulance service take you. Yes, a lot of people don't want the hassle, and there may be a charge to you or your insurance. But if you need things like IV fluids, they can probably start those that much sooner. And you will almost certainly be seen that much faster. Patients brought in by EMS are almost always given priority over patients who come in on their own, if for no other reasons, to allow the EMS crew to get back in service that much faster.

Carry a card in your wallet or purse with your basic medical information on it. There are some websites you can generate these cards for free (medids.com is one). You can list your doctors, meds, contact info, etc. Sometimes it is easier handing it to the in-take nurse at the ER then trying to spell out all the meds.
08-14-2015, 12:31 PM   #6
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I just made a "go bag" a couple weeks ago! Only took 24 ER visits resulting in admission for me to think of it!
10-12-2015, 01:29 AM   #7
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Thanks for.the post. Most visits to the ER, I have had to wait awhile. Five years ago, I had pancreaitis and it seems like they got me in quicker.

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10-19-2015, 06:01 PM   #8
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When I have a bad spell and decide to go to ER, here is what I pack just in case I am admitted:

o Overnight travel bag with toothpaste, brushes, combs, etc. I do a lot of business travel and mine is ready to grab.

o Cell phone and charger. I am in the US, and if a relative calls the phone in my hospital room then they see a $20 charge on their phone bill!

o Netbook computer. The hospitals I was at all had wifi and I could pass the time using the netbook to surf the net. It is smaller and much easier to handle around the bed than a laptop. Palmtops are too small and if you are on meds your eyesight may not be great.

o Book(s) to read. Another way to pass the time. I don't surf many websites on the internet and run out in a short time.

o Beware of television in the room. You DO NOT want to see commercials with pizza or cheeseburgers or other fast food while you are recovering on a restricted diet. Some hospitals charge for the TV.

o Anything you may need to sleep comfortable. It can be an uncomfortable night sleep, especially with IVs dangling from your arms. Sometimes the hospital room can be too cool or too warm at night. Warm clothes, light clothes, whatever.

o If you like it dark when you sleep, bring eyeshades to block out the light. Some hospitals don't want the door completely closed and the hall light will shine in. If you have a roommate, prepare for any sleep interruptions during the night.

o PJ bottoms, socks for sleeping. You have to wear the gown in bed, so the only shirts that work are really loose fitting short sleeve shirts. In the hospital you will get many shots and IVs.

o Make sure your shirts are expendable in case of nausea.

o plenty of underwear, especially following surgery. Boxers are really comfortable in hospital beds.

o Street clothes and dress for the weather when you are discharged.

Frankly I don't pack for the ER waiting room because if I'm bad enough to go to ER I am not in any condition to read or do anything.
12-27-2016, 06:35 PM   #9
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Diagnosis: Crohn's in 1991 at age 9
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03-29-2017, 08:18 AM   #10
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This is a great thread,

There are a couple of things I would add for a UK hospital -

I think the blanket may be a good idea here, as in the past I've been forced to spend nights hooked up to an IV in the waiting area as there hasn't been a trolly or bed available, and they haven't always given me a blanket. They also commonly have shortages of pillows at my hospital, so the extra blanket could be useful to fold up under your head as something soft, and its always nice to have something comforting that smells like home anyway.

I don't know what other hospitals are like, but the ones around me don't give out PJs /gowns unless someone is brought in through the ambulance service or having an operation, so its a good idea to either wear something that you can sleep in ( I try to wear leggings if i can) and a comfy jumper or something you can slip on and off like a nightgown. Its not uncommon for time in A&E to exceed 4 hours, so a little change for the vending machines is a good idea as in most UK hospitals the tea trollies dont supply the waiting room.

If you're going to be staying in then ear plugs are good, as in the UK its likely you'll have at least 3 room mates.

Due to my additional dietary needs, I tend to try and keep a bar of chocolate or another safe snack in my bag, as I know the hosiptal can't cater for me at short notice and the doctors tend to like to see how i am when I eat.

If you're staying in, try to get a family member to bring you a small amount of money as the TVs by the beds require a pre-payed card that you have to buy from a vending machine using cash, and we have trollies which come to the wards selling magazines and cold drinks along with things like mints and crisps (chips), which can be good starter snacks in my opinion. Your own headphones are also a good idea.

I wouldn't recommend any expensive tablets or anything, but I have bought a cheap tablet that will do the basics (games and movies) for hospital stays. DONT take any jewellery unless you will be wearing it at all times (for example I wear a ring that my partner gave me, but I wear that all the time) . During a previous stay another patient came into our bay when we were all asleep and stole a laptop from another patient's bedside table and also a phone from a nurses bag so I also advise against having any bank cards etc, as in a UK hospital you shouldnt need those anyway .

If you can, take all of your own medications in their original containers (not in pill boxes) as this will mean theres no faffing about while the nurses try to get the specialist meds. Don't take your own pain meds though as in my experience they will get taken off you and you may not get them back. Also take your most recent scope report if you have easy access to it.

For total emergencies, I carry a medical card in my purse which tells them all of my next of kin information and the details of my medications and doses as well as what I'm allergic to.

Obviously in the UK you don't need a medical insurance card, but if you're here on holiday from Europe you should carry your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) which entitles you to free emergency health care. Anyone travelling here from outside the EU should be aware that you aren't entitled to free health care in the UK, and therefore could be charged ( you won't ever be refused medical care if you can't pay, and they always provide treatment first before worrying about your ability to pay so don't worry) .

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03-29-2017, 10:17 AM   #11
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Wow! UK hospitals sound sort of dreary. When I was in the hospital last year, in the US, I had a private room with my own private bathroom, and as many blankets and pillows as I needed. Gowns were provided but I chose to wear my own sweatpants and t-shirts as those were more comfortable for me. TV and wifi were free of charge. I had my chromebook and my wallet with me and nobody stole anything.

Of course, as you said, in the UK healthcare is free to residents, while here in the US they charged my insurance over $27,000 for 5 days in the hospital. So yeah, in the US you get nice amenities, but you/your insurance also pays for it big-time.
03-29-2017, 05:05 PM   #12
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As a previous ER nurse I will say this. Do not lie to get back to a room faster. For example, if you say you have chest pain & you get to the room, it WILL be discovered that you do not. Everything else you say to the medical staff will be taken as a lie. It is the fastest way to get your chart flagged! & will only delay you getting help for the real issue. Do not embellish with a false problem please.......
(Can you tell I have dealt with this a lot)..
Wherever you be.... let the wind blow free!

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