Triage In The ER

Why do we wait in the Emergency Department?

All patients presenting to the Emergency Room at Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital are triaged when they arrive.  Triage is the sorting of patients (as in an emergency room) according to the urgency of their need for care.

What does this mean?  This means that we have to treat the sickest people first.  It may be frustrating and seem unfair when you see people that arrived later than you get evaluated before you do.  The reason this happens is because the people seen first are either more ill or have a greater risk for becoming increasingly ill.  We ask that you also keep in mind that people that look fine can also be very ill. Though you are in the waiting room our highly trained staff are monitoring your condition.  It may just be a quick visual exam, the nurse may ask you a few questions, or you may be taken into a private area for a more detailed exam.  If you have questions or your condition has changed please ask for a nurse to evaluate you.

Why do I have to wait in a particular room?  Patient confidentiality is extremely important to us.  When people remain in the area designated to them it decreases the chance that they will see or hear information that is private and personal to our patients.  Also, due to the nature of the emergency department we have to sometimes move very quickly to respond to a sick patient.  It is important our halls are clear so we are able to respond to patients in the fastest manner possible.

Why can’t I use my cell phone?  Cell phones work on radio frequencies and there is the possibility they could interfere with medical equipment.  Also, most cell phones these days have cameras on them and we don’t want to risk the privacy of our patients, their families, or our staff.