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Spryte

If you need the ER in an area with lots of Covid-19...

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If there was a chance you’d need to go to the ER for a non-Covid-19 issue, how would you prepare?  What would you take?  Masks, sanitizer, phone charger.  What else?

This is in an area near a hot spot, with still rising cases. Lots of Covid-19 cases locally.

What would you do differently while there?  Plan on being in an ER room, needing to do a urine test (so hospital bathroom), and imaging.

Once home - change, laundry, and shower.  Would you feel you need to isolate from vulnerable, elderly household members or kids with immune issues?  How long?  (2 weeks is near impossible, and I think would be overkill?)
 

Trying to avoid this, but need a plan just in case.

 

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They’re triaging and moving anyone with any symptoms that look like Covid to another area right outside the ER, trying to get them before they even sit down.  So I wouldn’t be too worried about the ER in my area unless what I was going in for sounded like it and wasn’t. It’s probably slightly less dirty than it was a year ago, given the hyper vigilance about triage and the extra cleaning and space between chairs.

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My ex took our kid to the ER about a month ago. We are in a hot spot. 

They wore homemade masks to go there.  They were screened upon arrival, and given hospital issued masks to wear beyond the entrance, and used the hand sanitizing station. They were the only people in the waiting room.

Kid had blood test, urine test, EKG, COVID-19 swab, and was in a bed for a while while they administered an IV. Everything was done very carefully. Hand washing or hand sanitizing a bunch of times.

They resanitized hands before leaving. When they got home, they changed out of clothes right away, and showered. Shoes stay at the door.

I did not go, as I am the more vulnerable parent. Kid stayed with ex for about a week after the visit, but more because they have their own bathroom there, so better while sick.

I got a call the next day telling us the covid 19 test was negative, as expected.

I generally keep a bunch of Ziploc bags on me if I have to go anywhere, so I can stash my phone in it. I can still swipe the screen, but the phone surface stays clean. Once home, I slide the phone out of the bag without touching, wash hands, and then I can pick it up.

The thing that freaked me out was hearing that they used a valet. Driver was masked though. 

When they went back to cardiology the next week, they parked in the garage but then used a hospital wheelchair. So having wipes could be handy. We keep wipes by the door now to wipe down the kid's walker when we come back in.

 

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Our ERs had triage tents outside so they could screen you - if they suspected COVID, you went into a separate section.
I wouldn't be worried about COVID if I needed to go. 

ETA: One of our outlying ERs (associated with hospital, but separate location) now has a drive-thru ER Tent. I'm assuming you drive up and they decide where you go from there. 

Edited by Bambam
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I'd also consider if there was an alternate medical office to go to - urologist, orthopedist, etc etc. 

But if need be, mask, hand sanitizer, a baggie of papertowels soaked in peroxide to wipe things down with. 

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I wouldn't overly worry about it other than the typical precautions nowadays (mask, sanitizer, being aware of not touching face). From what I can tell the hospitals and health care facilities are doing a really good job at isolating and sanitizing. That said, if it would make you feel better, and if you have options and can find the info, you maybe could choose a facility that has fewer cases. One of my best friends works at one of our largest hospital systems--a huge main hospital and several smaller, community based ones. She had to take her DH to the ER recently. Because of insider knowledge she took him to one of the community facilities that's a little more of a drive, but that she knew had had few virus patients. But it was a rather routine (but very painful) orthopedic issue, not anything truly serious.

Edited by Pawz4me
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We took my youngest daughter to the ER a couple weeks ago.  We are in a hot spot, but our local hospital is not seeing many cases.   This is not the hospital I would usually take my kids to for anything I thought may be really serious or might result in an admission, but under these circumstances, it was our best bet.   We were there early in the morning and were the only ones there.   Dh came with me in case I needed help (dd kept blacking out, she weighs to much for me to assist alone), but only I was allowed in the back with her.  He waited in the waiting room until other people started arriving then sat in the car.   Everyone was very careful, lots of sanitizing, hand washing, gloves.   EMT's came in a few times and were in full hazmat suits with gas masks, which was interesting to see.   

Dd had an IV, EKG, CT scan, blood tests, urine tests.  We were there for about 3 hours before being sent home.  

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Thanks, all.  I feel better about the respect now.  Still crossing fingers it won’t be needed, but more prepared.

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Nylon to tie over the mask, and a face shield if you have one. But honestly, that's just out of an abundance of caution - the hospitals have become a lot better at sorting out the sick from the injured.

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Unfortunately not all hospitals are doing what they say there are. This is personal experience from one hospital only so I'm sure it is not the norm, but a family member had to go in to the ER (not virus related) and no one else was allowed to go with him. The doctor came out and said they were not separating patients even though their web site said they were. Then the doctor said that he would probably catch it in the ER. This just added to the stress of the situation. He was tested after they admitted him and the test came back negative.  This just eroded my trust in them. After this, I  am taking all precautions regardless of what I am told in advance. 

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8 minutes ago, Izzybizzy said:

Unfortunately not all hospitals are doing what they say there are. This is personal experience from one hospital only so I'm sure it is not the norm, but a family member had to go in to the ER (not virus related) and no one else was allowed to go with him. The doctor came out and said they were not separating patients even though their web site said they were. Then the doctor said that he would probably catch it in the ER. This just added to the stress of the situation. He was tested after they admitted him and the test came back negative.  This just eroded my trust in them. After this, I  am taking all precautions regardless of what I am told in advance. 


That’s awful!  
 

I don’t know what our area is doing.  I do know that they are not offering the separate facility or outdoor triage a few people mentioned.  A few weeks ago we had a near miss, and the ER nurse really advised us to try to manage at home (it was moderately bad allergic reaction).  So I will go in expecting the worst, if I go.

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What are you thinking might happen?  A UTI can be diagnosed with a pharmacy AZO test kit and confirmed in an urgent care clinic. Kidney stones can possibly be prevented by drinking stuff to dissolve them (like soda with phosphorus or apple cider vinegar in water). They can also give meds like Flomax to relax the urethra for easier elimination of the stones. (Just throwing out a few things because you mentioned a urine tedt. ). But the bottom line is that I would try to do everything I could to avoid the ER. 

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15 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

What are you thinking might happen?  A UTI can be diagnosed with a pharmacy AZO test kit and confirmed in an urgent care clinic. Kidney stones can possibly be prevented by drinking stuff to dissolve them (like soda with phosphorus or apple cider vinegar in water). They can also give meds like Flomax to relax the urethra for easier elimination of the stones. (Just throwing out a few things because you mentioned a urine tedt. ). But the bottom line is that I would try to do everything I could to avoid the ER. 

 

I’ve been ill since Apr 30 with something else, and had just started improving.  So I’m feeling pretty fragile. And maybe some PTSD:  DD had a UTI last October that went to her kidneys and she had to be admitted for days.

AZO test wasn’t positive for leukocytes, but not glaringly positive for a UTI (no nitrites).  I’m on antibiotics now, but the pain in my kidney area spiked high early this morning, with nausea.

I do have Flomax on hand, because I’m prone to stones.  Id forgotten about that!

Going to the ER is not on the list of things I want to do, but if things don’t improve, doc might suggest it,  I hope not.

ETA:  not Covid-related!  I’ve been ill since Apr 30, but it was not Covid.  😊

Edited by Spryte
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If you have to go, you have to go. 

The department I work in is back to normal patient volumes.  We have an overcrowding problem (pre-dates COVID) that makes providing sufficient physical distancing difficult.  We are doing our best.  Perfect is impossible.

Don't put too much faith in the practice of isolating potential COVID pts as soon as they arrive.  Iso upon arrival is possible for patients who are sick with rip-roaring obvious COVID syndrome, or have a really good, COVID-suspcect history, BUT COVID is super sneaky.  And immediately isolating every patient with any one of the COVID signs or symptoms (the list of which is a mile long) is impossible - there just aren't enough iso spaces to immediately isolate everyone with a cough, or a fever, or shortness of breath, or nausea, or vomiting, or fatigue, or diarrhea, or falls, or new change in cognition,  the list goes on.

Be prepared to speak up if you think you are placed in a space that puts you at risk (<2m from another patient, too close to a patient who is not wearing a mask or whose behaviour is concerning you (wandering over to chat, taking off their mask etc)).  Do speak up politely of course, and understand that the staff are under tremendous stress, but don't be afraid to speak up.  Staff may be overworked and just not able to offer perfect.

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