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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 the ER until your room is ready.

What do I need to know when I go home?

If hospital admission is not necessary, you will receive instructions about the type of care and treatment we recommend. You need to fully understand your "discharge instructions" to take care of your medical condition. Some patients may require follow-up care by their primary care physician or other specialist following their Emergency Room visit. 

Can I get help recovering at home?

Yes, you may need home health services, which can be provided by AHN Healthcare@Home. Their staff can assist patients who are recovering from illness or injury, or who may need help coping with a chronic health condition.

How is payment handled?

During your visit, you will be asked to make any cost sharing or co-payment if required by your health insurance plan.

Following your visit, you may receive separate invoices from those involved in your care, as well as a bill from the hospital and Emergency Room physicians. 

Can family or friends be with me in the Emergency Room?

We understand the importance of family and friends during an emergency. However, we limit the number of visitors in the treatment room to no more than two so that we can focus on your medical treatment.