What to Expect

What to expect during your visit to the Emergency Room

When you arrive at an Allegheny Health Network Emergency Room, you will receive fast, efficient care. You will be cared for by some of the region’s most experienced emergency nurses, and physicians who are certified in emergency care.

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about emergency care at AHN.

What happens when I come to the Emergency Room?

You will be greeted at the triage desk as soon as you arrive. (Triage is the clinical process of deciding how serious your medical condition is and how quickly you must be seen.)

When you’re sick or injured, it’s important that you receive a medical assessment quickly. You will be assessed by a nurse and a doctor or mid-level practitioner (physician’s assistant or certified registered nurse practitioner) right away. They can order tests and reduce your wait time by getting your diagnosis process started.

You will be directed to a treatment room if your condition needs immediate attention. If we decide your illness or injury is less severe, we will ask you to go to Patient Registration first, and then return to the waiting room.

Our triage process ensures that the most appropriate level of care is provided as quickly as possible.

How soon will I receive treatment?

Treatment is faster than ever, thanks to operational and technology improvements. However, it’s important to remember that those with significant or life-threatening medical emergencies will be treated first. Those with less severe or non-urgent injuries or illnesses will be treated as soon as possible. ER treatment is always available, 24/7.

How long will I be at the Emergency Room?

The time required for medical care is different for every patient. Some may have an extensive medical history that needs to be reviewed. Others may need X-rays, lab tests, and other medical tests. In some cases, we will need to bring in a physician specialist (cardiologist, radiologist, neurologist, etc.). Your wait time will also depend on how many other patients are seeking care at the same time.

Of course, we must immediately attend to patients arriving by ground or air ambulance with time-sensitive or life-threatening emergencies, such as heart attacks, strokes and seizures.

What about registration?

Bring personal identification and insurance information so that we can create or update your medical record. You can get emergency medical care regardless of your ability to pay.

What if I need to be admitted to the hospital?

After your medical emergency has been diagnosed and initially treated, you and your physician will decide if you should be admitted to the hospital or return home. If you need to be admitted, you will stay in t