At Norton Healthcare, emergency patients are seen based on the severity of their condition, not the time they arrive. That can lead to longer waits for some and better care for everyone.
Our team is highly trained in medical emergencies, and our emergency rooms are always open to provide quality care when you need it most.
We understand that your emergency visit can be very stressful and at times may seem very lengthy. Every patient is important, and the most seriously ill patients are treated first. This is a practice that can save lives, but also can lead to longer waits than some would prefer. We appreciate patience and compassion for those who need care more urgently.
When does my care begin?
Your first stop is with a nurse who will assess your condition and determine whether your condition requires any tests such as bloodwork or X-rays before a more detailed visit with a health care provider. Conducting these tests in advance of your visit, rather than after, makes your overall visit go faster. If you are unsure of the next steps in your care, please ask a nurse at the front desk.
Sometimes if there is an influx of patients seeking emergency care, the triage nurse will implement the following system to prioritize patients by the seriousness of their condition.
Unresponsive, unconscious or experiencing a life-threatening condition
Signs of distress or experiencing a condition that can become life-threatening and requiring of continuous monitoring
Stable, but requires multiple resources for monitoring or treatment
Stable, but injuries require medical attention
Stable with non-life-threatening symptoms
Do I have to wear a face mask even if I am not sick?
Yes. All staff, patients and guests must wear a mask in medical care settings at all times. Patients in the emergency department may be particularly susceptible to infectious diseases that can be spread even if you don’t have symptoms.
Some medical conditions may prevent certain patients from wearing a mask. See a staff member if you have questions.
How long is the current wait time, and how many people are ahead of me?
Wait times frequently change as patients arrive, with some needing care more urgently than others. Each patient is triaged, meaning their health is evaluated, by a nurse when they arrive. The most seriously ill or injured patients are seen first.
Why are people going to a treatment room before me?
You may see patients go to a treatment room before you based on the seriousness of the medical care they need. Other patients may leave the lobby for tests and evaluations, then return to wait until they can go to a treatment room.
My doctor sent me to the emergency department, or I arrived by ambulance. Why am I waiting in the lobby?
We evaluate every patient to determine medical needs regardless of how they arrived or who sent them. We want to provide the best possible care to every patient. Wait times vary based on how many patients need to be seen and the seriousness of their illnesses and injuries.
What do I do if I am feeling worse?
If your medical condition worsens while you are waiting, immediately tell a nurse at the front desk. The nurse will reassess your condition and determine next steps.
What if I decide to leave before being treated?
If you decide to leave after your triage and before being treated, please notify the nurse at the front desk.
How will my family know where I am once I leave the waiting area?
Feel free to update your loved ones during your stay. If they come to the hospital and are unable to get to you, they can visit the security desk for assistance.
Am I going to be admitted to the hospital?
After a thorough assessment of your medical condition, your provider will determine whether you are going to be admitted to the hospital, transferred to another medical facility or discharged. You will receive instructions on your home care or next steps.