What to Expect

Medical emergencies are stressful, but knowing what to expect can help make the experience a little easier. At El Camino Health, keeping you well informed is an important part of our care.

When you arrive at our hospitals for emergency care, you’ll be evaluated by a triage nurse. After assessing the severity of your condition, the nurse will either bring you to a treatment area or ask you to sit in the waiting room. For your convenience, we post our current average wait time for emergency care so you know what to expect.

The order in which people are treated depends on the urgency of their illness or injury. People arriving by ambulance are often seen first, due to the severity of their condition. If your condition doesn’t require immediate medical attention, you may not be seen right away.

Interpretation services are available to all non-English speaking patients.

What to Bring to the Emergency Department

If the situation isn’t critical and you have the opportunity before you come to the hospital, gather the following items:

  • Photo ID
  • Medical insurance card
  • List of allergies, recent illnesses and chronic health conditions
  • Your doctor’s contact information
  • List of medications (prescription, over-the-counter and herbal)
  • Emergency contact list
  • Cell phone and charger

If You’re Admitted to the Hospital

When you come to the emergency department, you’ll be observed by a doctor to determine whether you need be admitted to the hospital. You won’t be considered an inpatient until your doctor writes orders for you to be admitted. This is important to know because pay rates are different for inpatient and outpatient services, and there may be differences in your insurance coverage as well.

If you’re admitted to the hospital, both you and the hospital should notify your insurance company. Learn more about our billing and insurance policies.

In addition, the following items may be useful for your hospital stay:

  • Assistive devices such as glasses, cane, walker or C-Pap machine.
  • Overnight bag with pajamas, toiletries and a change of clothing.
  • Small amount of money or credit card for small purchases.
  • Legal paperwork such as power of attorney, advance healthcare directive or other healthcare-related forms.

To protect against loss or theft, please don’t bring jewelry or other valuables.