Are ERs Open on Weekends?
Emergency rooms usually operate quite late into the night. In most places, the ER is open 24/7. However, that does not mean you will always get the best all the time. Even though the ER is open 24/7, here is what you may need to know about it before you visit there. It may help to ensure that you get the best quality of care that you deserve.
What the Data Says
For years, studies have shown that health outcomes such as recovering from a heart attack that requires time in the ICU for those rushed to the ER on weekends are dismal. This is especially so when compared to patients treated during normal working hours. However, in some parts of the country and some ERs like Frontline ER Dallas, the numbers are quite good.
The reason for these numbers is quite easy to understand. At most places in the country, there is a skeleton crew working there late at night. Thus, if major emergencies arise, there is a need to wake the doctor, who will most likely be groggy and have to drive there and start working. This is what may contribute to a low quality of care at these ER facilities on weekends.
What to do if you visit the ER on weekends
If a visit to the ER becomes necessary, there are things you can do to ensure you get the quality of care you deserve. Here are a few of those tips.
- Patient will not work in the ER
The ER is a busy place no matter the day or time. There are all types of people and of all ages trying to get medical attention. Sometimes, nurses may miss the telltale signs of a serious medical condition and misdiagnose it as ordinary pain. For instance, what you may think is shoulder pain may turn out to be a serious heart attack. Thus, always speak up. Do not hope the ER nurses will notice you are sick. They have too many patients to examine.
- There is most likely a cheaper option
For most people, the first sign of trouble and they rush to the ER. However, it may actually be cheaper to visit the urgent care center for a situation that is not life-threatening. In some cases, you could save as much as $150 in co-payments by doing this. While you will not be turned away from the ER, they will not tell you that there is a cheaper option.
Do not hesitate to visit the ER if you feel the situation is critical. However, if you can, look for an urgent care center affiliated with your doctor or hospital. In some cases, calling a 24 hour emergency care helpline can be as effective as going to the ER.
- Expect numerous tests to be performed
Unless you have an obvious medical condition such as a broken bone, the ER doctors will perform a wide array of tests to determine your medical condition. There is a good reason for this. About 15,000 medical claims are filed against doctors in the ER. The doctors want to ensure that you do not have a chance to sue them for failing to detect an illness. However, these tests are quite accurate. If it turns out that the suspected heart attack is just chest pain, your insurer may not agree to pay for the cost.
- You can get priority access because of your doctor
Telling your doctor about your visit to the ER can save you a lot of time. It is especially so if he or she works in a hospital with an ER. If you do this, he or she will ensure that you are given priority access to the facility. That way, you do not have to wait for a nurse to assess you.
Besides that, your doctor might suggest a better ER, which has better equipment to deal with your case. In some rare cases, he or she may decide that you are worth opening his office to see you. Thus, always make a call to your doctor anytime you have an emergency.
- You can pick your doctor
Many people do not even know this,but you can pick your doctor at the ER. Using this option can help you get the quality of care that you deserve. You may also want to be seen by a specialist recommended by your doctor.
For one, it is quite comforting to see a doctor you trust. Another reason for this is that about 40 of doctors in the ER are not certified in emergency medicine. Not enough doctors take up emergency medicine. It is especially so for doctors in rural areas or suburban areas. Most of them are only trained in internal medicine or family practice.
In summary, most ERs are open on weekends. However, you want to ensure that you find the right ER even on a Saturday or Sunday if you want to get great quality care.