What to expect
When the unexpected happens, the unknown can be frightening. At Intermountain Health you can be confident in the care and attention you and your family receive, no matter what brought you here.
Our emergency team is committed to high-quality standards and comforting care for all members of our community. You can rely on our specially trained doctors, nurses and staff members to support you from the moment you enter the door.
What should I bring to the ER?
Getting you fast and accurate care is our primary goal. In order to do that, we need some important information from you, including:
- Emergency contact information
- Insurance cards and a method of copayment
- Legal documents, such as advance directives
- List of current medications
- List of known allergies
- Photo identification
If you’ve swallowed something that may be poisonous, please bring the substance with you.
What happens when I arrive at the ER?
We begin by checking you in and asking you what emergency condition brought you into the ER. It’s important to know that:
- It is our responsibility to care for everyone who comes through our emergency room door. However, our ER operates using a triage system. This means the most seriously ill or injured patients receive medical care first.
- Often before you are seen by a doctor, a registration clerk will ask you for insurance and other information so we can enter your visit for your medical records.
- Be assured that patients in need of emergency care will never be denied treatment or have treatment delayed by administrative paperwork.
How will my emergency be diagnosed and treated?
When it’s your turn, you’ll be taken to an exam room, where a doctor or other medical professional will examine you based on the urgency of your needs. You can expect to have your pulse, blood pressure, temperature and other vitals taken, and you’ll be asked for your medical history. You may also be asked to change into a hospital gown so we can better examine you and connect to devices that monitor your vital signs.
You may need to have tests performed or medical images taken so we fully understand your condition and can make an accurate diagnosis. Having the right information means we can better help treat you during your ER visit and provide instructions for when you go home. Our team works to provide fast and accurate results so your treatment can begin quickly. Trained technicians or technologists will perform these tests.
Screening and diagnostic tests
Our ERs give you 24-hour access to the latest imaging and laboratory technology and testing, including:
- Bloodwork and other tests
- CT scans
- X-rays, including images of bones, the abdomen and the skull.
Depending on the reasons for your emergency room visit, your treatment may be simple or complex. Your care may be handled by any one of our emergency care team members. Treatment may take a few minutes or several hours, or longer if you’re admitted to one of our hospitals.
If your condition and treatment needs are complex, your doctor may consult with other doctors or specialists about your care. This might make your ER visit longer, but will help ensure you receive the most appropriate care for your needs.
After you’ve been treated, we may send you home or keep you at the hospital for observation or further treatment and testing. In some cases, we may recommend that your care be transferred to another type of facility best equipped to provide what you need.
If you are admitted as an inpatient to an Intermountain Health facility, you’ll be taken to your room as soon as all the arrangements have been made and a room is available.
Before you leave
Before you leave the ER or the hospital, we’ll give you all the information you need to continue your treatment and improve your health. You’ll leave with a copy of your discharge instructions and any prescriptions written for you.
Please keep your discharge instructions and make sure you understand them. We’ll be there for you if you need additional education or support, but you are responsible for your own care after you leave our ER.
We work hard to make sure you understand any medical procedure we perform. If you don’t understand something, please ask your doctor or nurse for more information. You can expect to have one of our care team explain tests, your diagnosis, treatments and your take-home instructions.
What happens after I go home?
We’ll send your doctor information to help keep track of how you’re doing and what further treatments, appointments or medications you might need for follow-up care. We want to help you get back to your life and good health as quickly as possible.
Once you receive your bill, we can help if you have any questions about the bill or payment.
Follow up with your doctor
Your care doesn’t always end when you go home. After your ER visit or hospital stay, it will be important to let your family doctor know what happened so you can get the follow-up care or treatment you may need.
Frequently asked questions
Is paperwork more important than my care?
Never. Patients in need of emergency care will never be denied treatment or have treatment delayed by administrative paperwork.
Why can’t I eat or drink while I’m waiting?
Eating or drinking before you have permission from your ER doctor can significantly delay your care. Many ER procedures require you to take medications that increase your risk of vomiting and choking. Because of this we cannot safely start treatment if you’ve had any food or drink in the few hours before you’re treated.
How long does treatment take?
It depends. The specific hospital, the time of day, the number of patients in the ER and your own unique condition play a role in determining how long you spend in our ER. The following is the average time for certain tests but the total time for your visit could take up to 3-4 hours.
- Labs: 45 to 90 minutes after the blood is drawn for results to be sent to your doctor.
- X-rays: 45 to 60 minutes after the test for the radiologist to read the X-ray and share the results.
- CT scans: Anywhere between one to two hours for the radiologist to read the scan and share the results.
How can I get a copy of my medical records?
We provide two ways for you to access your medical records.
- If you have been seen at one of Intermountain Health’s hospitals or clinics before and have signed up to use our patient portal, you may view parts of your medical record through the Intermountain Health patient portal.
- If you need your complete inpatient medical record, please call the location where you received care.