Saturday, September 21, 2019

Take Comfort in Our Emergency Room

To Your Health


Submitted Photo

A few years ago, my friend Tom told me a story that has continued to shape my view on emergency room services. Just one week after relocating to Marco Island, Tom found himself in the Emergency Room at Physicians Regional-Collier Boulevard. He had been experiencing many of the symptoms associated with a heart attack.  

Though a family member accompanied him, Tom had yet to establish relationships with any local physicians. As Tom put it, “I have never felt so scared and alone.”

Thankfully, Tom didn’t have a heart attack that day, but he discovered something important about himself. “I found what—in many ways—I needed just as much as a clean bill of health. I found comfort. I found compassion, skill, commitment and professionalism. And through the connections I made that day, I rediscovered the sense of relief that comes from having a primary care physician—someone whose job it is to know me and my medical history.” 

Tom’s story always reminds me that, when someone is scared and undergoing a personal health crisis, “comfort” means so much. And when any of us are in that situation, we must expect our health care provider to boost our comfort, not add to our anxiety. 

According to Christy De Leon, Emergency Department Director at Physicians Regional-Collier Boulevard, “Our goal in the ER is to help the sickest and most vulnerable patients and provide them with the best possible patient experience.” 

Not every “urgent” medical need requires an emergency room visit. Physicians Regional patients have come to depend on our walk-in clinics. Our Marco Island Clinic is located at the corner of Barfield and San Marco and our East Naples Clinic is located at 4525 Thomasson Drive. Both clinics are open from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. These facilities are ideally suited to cuts, minor burns and scrapes, sore throats and twisted ankles.

A true emergency threatens a person’s life, limbs, or sense organs. Some examples include heart attacks, strokes, traumatic injuries, breathing problems, broken bones, head and neck injuries, cuts with severe bleeding, and eye injuries. Christy DeLong suggests: “Trust your gut. When people are really sick, they often get that feeling of pending doom. Don’t ignore that feeling. Call 9-1-1.”

You should also call 9-1-1 if driving (or being driven) to the hospital is not a viable option. This is especially true if the medical condition is growing worse.

Remember that emergency care is not provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Patients in the emergency room are treated according to the severity of their condition. 

If you want to know about ER wait times, visit PhysiciansRegional.com for information on projected wait times at our Collier Boulevard and Pine Edge Emergency Rooms. The time provided is approximate and updated four times an hour. 

Our emergency departments also participate in the 30-Minutes-or-Less ER Service Pledge. We pledge that a medical professional (physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner) will work diligently to have our patients initially seen within 30 minutes of their arrival.

All patients entering our Collier Boulevard and Pine Ridge Emergency Rooms are treated by doctors who are board certified and fellowship trained specifically in emergency medicine. The benefit to the patient is the knowledge that our ER physicians have the education and experience necessary to respond incisively in all emergency situations. 

The Emergency Room at Physicians Regional-Collier Boulevard is home to the area’s only Older Adult-Friendly ER.

As ER visits are traditionally more challenging on older adults, extra steps have been taken to provide our senior population with an even better patient experience. 

Our ER’s renovated private rooms feature walls and glass sliding doors, dimmed lighting and thicker mattresses, TVs with closed captioning for the hearing impaired, and recliners or armchairs for loved ones accompanying patients to the ER.  

There are also larger call button and display clocks. All curtains are now solid colors as fabric with patterns can cause dizziness in adults with dementia. We also invested in music, specifically hits from the 1940s. Again, patients with dementia are often calmed by music.

Even the paint colors—light beige and sage green—were chosen to “bring the outside in” and provide a more serene, comforting environment. 

In addition to the aesthetics, and more importantly, our ER staff, along with our physicians and physician assistants, had to complete 10 hours of geriatric training. This is an annual requirement, and the 2019 training will begin next month.         

A trip to the Emergency Room is never going to appear on the top of someone’s to-do list—regardless of their age. But when it happens, comfort and care should go hand in hand. Like Tom, so many in our community come from out of town. But when they are sick, it’s our job to make them feel right at home.

For more information on our facilities, physicians and services, please visit our website at www.PhysiciansRegional.com. 

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