What Can You Expect When You Visit the ER?

Whether you are having a heart health emergency or have an injury that needs immediate attention, knowing what to expect when you visit the ER can make the experience less stressful. When you go to the hospital for emergency treatment, here is a look at the process you will go through as you receive care.


Triage is the first thing that happens when you go to the ER and is a crucial part of the care process. An intake nurse or another care provider will review your symptoms with you to determine the severity of your emergency. The purpose of triage is to ensure that patients with life-threatening issues receive the care they need quickly, and is more useful than seeing patients on a first come, first served basis. For instance, a patient having a heart attack or stroke will be taken back for treatment before someone with a minor cut, regardless of the order in which they arrived.

Diagnosis and Treatment

When you are taken into a treatment room in the ER, your vital signs will be measured and a doctor or nurse will ask you about your symptoms in more detail. If necessary, the ER doctor may refer you for diagnostic testing, such as an X-ray or an EKG, to determine the cause of your symptoms. When the ER doctor is confident that he or she has the correct diagnosis, you will either receive treatment in the ER or be admitted to the hospital for more extensive care.


If you are not being admitted to the hospital, you will be discharged once your treatment is complete. Before you are discharged, a nurse will review your diagnosis and instructions for home care with you. You will also receive a detailed summary of your visit, diagnosis, and any necessary prescriptions, as well as a referral to a specialist for further evaluation if needed.

The ER at Riverside Community Hospital treats patients in need 24 hours a day and is home to a Level II Trauma Center and 50 treatment areas. The ER is also a Certified Primary Stroke Center and Accredited Chest Pain Center with access to our heart hospital in Riverside. For more information about all of our hospital services, please call (951) 788-3463.

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