Choose the Emergency Department over an Urgent Care Center if you’re experiencing symptoms, such as:
- Chest pain or other heart attack symptoms
- Head injury
- Sudden and severe headache or loss of vision
- Heavy bleeding that won’t stop
- Deep cuts or puncture wounds
- High fever
- Severe breathing difficulties
- Loss of consciousness
- Constant vomiting
- Domestic violence, rape, or other physical assault
- Feelings of suicide
- Severe burns
Emergency Department Treatment
Our Emergency Department uses a sorting system called triage, not a first-come-first-served order, to treat our patients. During triage, a specially trained registered nurse will assess you to determine what Emergency Severity Index (ESI) level 1-5 scale you fall in with 1 being the most critical.
This sorting process ensures our patients with the most serious injuries or illnesses are treated first. For example, if a patient arrives with chest pain, he or she is treated before you if you arrived earlier but have a swollen ankle. Heart attacks have priority over earaches, and complicated fractures are treated before smaller cuts.
Our Emergency Department Team is proficient in lifesaving skills and has expert knowledge in the delivery of care within emergency medicine. The WMHS team includes:
- Emergency physicians
- Trauma surgeons
- Orthopedic surgeons
- Critical care specialists
- Physician Assistants/Nurse Practitioners
- Emergency nurses
- Respiratory therapy
- Other support personnel who are available on a 24-hour basis.
Pediatric Emergency Care
The Pediatric Observation Unit at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center enhances the care that WMHS can provide to our youngest patients.
For a virtual tour, click here.
Some Features Include:
- Five dedicated beds
- Secluded from adult patients
- Secure environment
- Pediatric equipment
- Private rooms
- Child-friendly and soothing atmosphere
- Over 60 ED/pediatric trained staff
Acute Treatment Area
If the condition is life-threatening, our patients are taken directly to the acute treatment area and begin care immediately. This area includes four trauma rooms that are equipped with the resources necessary to provide treatment for severe and/or multiple injuries. Other rooms are specially equipped to deal with other serious health issues, such as chest pain, that require intensive evaluation and treatment.
Rapid Medical Evaluation
There are many instances when the needed level of care falls somewhere in the middle of the acuity range. In order to reduce the wait times, a new Rapid Medical Evaluation (RME) area is available every day from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.
The RME area provides space where our team of providers can assess serious health issues and get any required lab or radiology exams underway more quickly. This innovative approach greatly reduces the wait time to see a provider and decreases the length of stay in the ED. In addition, having the RME area keeps beds free in the acute area of the ED for the most serious and life-threatening conditions.
The Treatment Process
An Emergency Department nurse evaluates your condition and will ask about your medical history, current medications, and drug allergies. One of our ED physicians, physician assistants, or nurse practitioners will assess and discuss the problem with you, recommend a course of treatment, and possibly order a diagnostic test or a specialist consultation.
We screen our patients for domestic violence, smoking, alcohol, and drug use. Our ED team members can provide referrals for any of these issues if wanted or needed.
Waiting to be Treated
WMHS Emergency Department treats approximately 126 patients per day (based on the past 12 months) and makes every attempt to keep your wait time as short as possible. In many instances, there is virtually no wait time in the ED’s main waiting room; you will be quickly triaged and moved to the appropriate point of care. Sometimes, however, the wait for treatment is longer, due to the number of our patients being treated or the severity of the health issue.
We are committed to having our healthcare providers evaluate each patient within 30 minutes of their arrival. If your condition changes while you are waiting, please let one of our nurses know immediately.
Family and Friends
During treatment, our patients may have two visitors at the bedside. There may be times when visitors are asked to step out of the room and wait in the waiting area. Patient confidentiality and privacy are important to WMHS.
If you or a family member are waiting for a loved one, vending machines and televisions are available to help pass the time. The WMHS Food Court is also open to the public.
When Treatment is Completed
An illness or injury may require admission to the hospital. After the admission is processed, one of our nurses will transport you to an available bed.
In the event that your condition requires treatment not available at WMHS, arrangements will be made to have you transferred to another healthcare facility. One of our physicians will determine whether you will go by ambulance, helicopter, or private vehicle.
If cleared for discharge, one of our nurses will review written instructions with you to ensure that you understand any medications that you have been prescribed and will review follow-up care.