Emergency Department Visit FAQs

Patient Comfort Menu [PDF]
Guide to your Care Team [PDF]

Who is taking care of me in the Emergency Department (ED)?

A triage nurse quickly screens every patient and directs patients to the appropriate treatment area. Once you are in a treatment area, you will be evaluated by a provider team; during this evaluation, you may be seen by an attending physician, physician assistant (a fully licensed provider), or a nurse practitioner (a fully licensed provider). You will always have an assigned a registered nurse (will work to assist in your treatment and make sure you are comfortable throughout your visit).

While you are in the ED, you may also encounter patient transporters, registrars, case managers, radiology technicians, volunteers and other healthcare team members, all of whom are working together to provide you the best care possible.

Why am I being asked the same questions so many times?

In order to ensure your safety, multiple members of the team may ask you to confirm your identity and why you are visiting the ED at various points during your stay. You may be evaluated by multiple clinicians including nurses, physician assistants, attending physicians, and consulting specialist physicians and each may ask you to repeat important information relevant to your condition in order to provide you the safest and best possible care.

It looks like some patients are being seen who came in after I did. Did they forget about me?

Our Emergency Department aims to provide the best and fastest care to every patient who comes through the door. Some patients may have abnormal vital signs or medical conditions that put them at higher risk than others, so sometimes patients will be evaluated “out of order” in order to maximize safety for every patient. This is the triage process, and we continually re-evaluate our patients to make sure that the sickest people receive prompt care. Please be sure to tell a member of your team if you are feeling worse at any time.

What is the Intermediate Care area of the Emergency Department?

Intermediate Care is an area of the ED where you may be seen with medical concerns which usually can be diagnosed and treated so that you can go home. You may be brought into an exam room and then asked to return to the waiting area while tests or other parts of your workup are pending. This is to allow us to treat as many patients as quickly and safely as possible.

Are there interpreters available? I would feel more comfortable discussing my care in my native language.

There are iPad interpretation services available 24-hours per day for almost every language. Even if you speak English, please tell a member of your healthcare team if you feel more comfortable communicating in your native language and we will be happy to arrange for interpreter services.

I feel worse. Who should I tell?

If at any point while you are in the ED you feel worse or different than when you came in, tell any staff member and a member of your healthcare team will come to reevaluate you. If you are in pain, let your nurse know.

I’m not comfortable. Is there anything you can do?

Since there are not always enough stretchers (beds) for every patient in the Emergency Department to lie down, those patients who are able to sit in chairs are asked to do so. If you are cold, we may be able to offer you a warm blanket and/or a hot beverage. We may also be able to offer you a pillow to make you more comfortable. Please ask a member of your team.

Can I eat and drink?

It is very important to ask a member of your care team if it is okay to eat or drink. Sometimes you may need to have a test or procedure that means you should not eat or drink. If you are able to drink, we may be able to offer you water, coffee or tea. If you are able to eat, we may be able to offer you a meal or snack. Please talk to a member of your team if you are hungry or thirsty.

There is also a cafeteria downstairs (Monday- Friday: 6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: 6:30 a.m.-1 p.m.). If you are able to eat, a family member can purchase food for you there including sandwiches, soups, and pastries.

What tests will I undergo?

Every patient’s workup is different based on why she or he is in the ED. You may require lab tests (blood draw or urine sample), x-rays or CT scans (pictures of the inside of your body) or other tests. Some patients may not require any tests during their Emergency Department visit. Your healthcare team will explain what tests you will need and can answer any questions you may have.

How long will I be here?

Every patient is different and there is no way to provide exact estimates of how long your treatment will take. Imaging tests (like x-rays and CT scans) can take several hours to be completed and interpreted by the radiology doctors. Lab tests may take up to 90 minutes or longer to result depending on the test.

You may also need to be evaluated by a consulting specialist doctor from outside the Emergency Department depending on your condition, and this may also take several hours.

Remember that there is a healthcare team responsible for your care at all times and if you have questions about next steps in your care, ask at any time.

Will I need to stay in the hospital?

Sometimes your condition may require additional care in the hospital and you will be admitted or observed in the hospital. At that point your care may continue with a different healthcare team.

Once the decision has been made, your healthcare team will talk to you about where in the hospital you will go and what to expect. Sometimes there may be a very long wait for a bed to become available. In that case your care will continue in the Emergency Department until your bed is ready. Depending on why you need to stay and which team will take care of you in the hospital, they may come to meet you while you are still in the Emergency Department and start taking care of you at that time.

Remember that there is always a healthcare team responsible for your care. If you are ever unsure who that is, just ask.

What does it mean to be “observed” in the hospital?

Our ED provider may speak with you about being observed. The goal of observation care is to provide additional treatment and rule out serious illness. This type of care may be provided in either our ED area or upstairs in our observation unit. Most people are under observation for less than 24 hours. You will be monitored, meet with doctors from specialties related to your condition, receive treatment or get tests done. If a serious condition is diagnosed by your care team, you may be admitted into the hospital as an inpatient for additional medical care.

What happens when I go home?

Many times your treatment will be completed in the Emergency Department and it will be safe for you to go home. You will be given specific follow-up instructions before you leave. You may be prescribed medications to continue taking when you leave the Emergency Department. It is very important that you fill these prescriptions at the pharmacy and take the medicine as instructed.

If you have any questions about what you should do when you go home, ask a member of your healthcare team.

Your healthcare team will also talk to you about reasons to return to the Emergency Department. If you have any of these symptoms or any other concerns, you can return at any time to be reevaluated. The Emergency Department is open 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

Where can I get help related to a substance use disorder after I leave the ED?

Creative Health Services at 11 Robinson Street in Pottstown provides outpatient help for those with a substance use disorder. They can be contacted at 484-941-0500. You may also ask a member of your care team to be seen in the ED by one of their counselors or for an additional list of resources.

My phone or tablet battery is running low. Where can I charge it?

There are charging stations available in the front ED lobby and the main ED. Do not leave your electronic device unattended.

How can I access the internet?

There is complimentary Wi-Fi internet access available throughout the Emergency Department. To connect to WiFi, go to settings and click on Tower Health Free WiFi and click to accept terms and conditions.

I don’t feel safe at home. Who can I tell?

Tell any staff member if you have any concerns about your safety at home or anywhere else. We will assist you to make sure that you are safe while you are here and prior to leaving the hospital.

How can my family members contact me while I am here?

The main phone number for the hospital is 610-327-7000. Your family members can ask to be transferred to the Emergency Department and be routed to the area in which you are a patient. If your family members come to the Emergency Department, they will be greeted at the main desk and staff will escort them to your location as appropriate.

I want to provide feedback about my experience.

We are always trying to improve our care, and we welcome your feedback! Please let a member of your healthcare team know if you have comments or questions about your Emergency Department visit.

Who should I contact if I receive a bill for my visit?

Questions regarding any Pottstown Hospital bill can be answered by calling 833-341-5488. If you are calling about a bill for Tri-County Emergency Physicians, please call 610-327-7710.

What should I do if I need to update my registration information after I am discharged?

Please contact the Registration Department at 610-327-7320 to update your registration information, including updating insurance information if you were not able to provide it during your visit.

How do I learn more about eligibility for financial assistance??

After you are discharged, you can either visit Outpatient Registration and Financial Services in the main hospital lobby, Monday-Friday from 7a.m.-5 p.m., or call 610-327-7025.