Thursday, April 3, 2008

5 Questions Parents Will Be Asked When Bringing A Child To The Emergency Room

When an emergency room visit is needed, it is usually a stressful time. Parents don't always remember the most important information that health care workers will ask upon arrival at the ER. Follow these tips to organize your child's health information and keep it in your wallet for those unfortunate and unexpected visits to the ER.

1. Have a list of your child's allergies and current daily medications. Include vitamins and over the counter medicines and food allergies with this list. This is important information for the doctor when deciding what medicine to give your child for the current problem.

2. Have a current shot or immunization list for each of your children. This is especially important if the visit to the ER is due to an injury requiring stitches or sutures.

3. Know when your child last ate and what it was that was consumed. This is important if surgery is needed for example, to fix a broken bone or for an appendectomy ( removal of appendix) Most surgeons will not take a child to surgery if they have had something to eat or drink in the last 4-6 hours. During a procedure is not the time to discover the child has a full belly.

4. Know your child's past medical and surgical history. For most healthy children, this is easily recalled, but for chronically ill children that information can become muddled. This information also includes knowing when your child had chicken pox and other childhood diseases. A written list is a safe way to relay this information to the health care team.

5. Know your child's approximate weight and note to the nurse or doctor if there has been a recent weight loss or gain. These symptoms are very important when diagnosing diabetes, eating disorders, dehydration or absorption disorders, and other illnesses that are difficult to pick up on. Parents often don't notice a weight loss or gain until it is mentioned from a professional, yet this can be an indication of when a problem began.

It doesn't take long to jot this information down on a 3x5 card to keep with you. I also recommend that dad has a copy in his wallet too just in case he is the one being asked the questions. This saves valuable time when emergency care is needed and prevents an error in medical care when this information is current. All of this will assist the health care team in providing what is needed when it is needed most for your child.


Carma said...

Terri this is such valuable information. When you have to visit the ER there is no time to have to think about "what is your mother's maiden name". This is a question I always had to ask during times of trauma when I used to work in ER admitting.

Thankfully, things have changed some. Being prepared is so important.

Charlotte Anne Braden, ARA SCBWI Scotland said...

Excellant article! I'm to make up a list and have it handy just-in-case.

Great blog, too!

Smiles, Charlotte