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FAQs

Q: What happens when I arrive?

A: You will be greeted by an Emergency Department staff member who will ask you to sign in. Your treatment starts with a triage nurse who will ask you to describe your symptoms/reason for your visit, take your vital signs and ask you for your family history and list of current medications you are taking. You may begin treatment or diagnostic testing, or you may be asked to sit in the waiting room until an appropriate treatment space becomes available.

Please be advised that eating or drinking is prohibited until you are seen by our emergency practitioner.


Q: If other patients arrived after me, why are they being seen first?

A: Hartford HealthCare's Emergency Department serves patients whose condition can be life-threatening. Therefore, we must triage patients to determine who needs immediate attention. Patients with more severe conditions will be given priority for treatment.

Please understand that if this occurs, it is only to ensure that those patients with the most critical illnesses get seen as soon as possible. We will do everything we can to minimize your stay and keep you informed of when you will be seen.


Q: What happens when I’m brought to a treatment space?

A: You may be asked to put on a gown and an IV may be inserted or blood may be drawn. Our emergency practitioners may order tests to help diagnose your condition or collaborate with other specialists to determine the cause of your complaint.


Q: Why am I still waiting when I see so many emergency practitioners in the ED?

A: Our ED is a very busy place with many of our staff evaluating other patients who might require admission to the hospital. Emergency staff frequently take trips to computer stations either to order tests or assess results. Some staff must return important phone calls. Remember that all of this is part of your care. We will do our best to accommodate your needs.


Q: Why don't you call my doctor right away?

A: It is best to contact your physician after we obtain results from your medical tests. We can make the best decision about your treatment only after we know your status.


Q: How long will I be here?

A: Patients with minor illnesses or injuries may be seen in our minor care area, which has an expected stay of about two hours. If you hare seen in the main ED, you could be there as a short as several hours, or as long as overnight. Sometimes there is a surge of patients in our ED that increases wait times.


Q: Why are wait times so long in the ED?

A: "ED Crowding" is a national and regional problem that has to do with a variety of factors, including a growing population of frail, critically ill patients who have life-threatening conditions.


Q: What about my family and visitors?

A: We support the need for patients to have family with them during their visit, but in some cases, we may need to limit the number of visitors in the treatment space for the comfort, safety and privacy of all our ED patients.


Q: What happens when I'm discharged?

A: The emergency practitioner will review your care and diagnosis, and you will receive "Discharge Instructions." The practitioner will carefully explain your instructions, medical prescriptions and answer any questions about your care or treatment. This information will be provided to your regular doctor; if you do not have one, we will provide a referral for your.