Our Philosophy and Goal
In the course of a year, more than 20,000 people arrive at our Emergency Room to seek care and treatment. Some of these patients arrive in an ambulance, some arrive by car and some even come here by bus, taxi or walking. Our goal is to treat each and every patient as quickly and effectively as possible. We provide the highest level of medical care that we can and we try to provide this care with a great deal of compassion and sensitivity.
Emergency Room care is based on a system of triage. Unlike other types of services you may be accustomed to receiving, ER care is not first come, first serve. Every patient who comes to the Emergency Room is evaluated based on how serious their injury or illness. Those who are sickest are seen first. Sometimes you may see someone in the ER who does not appear ill, but who is seen before you. Appearance is not always the best judge of how ill a person may be, or how dangerous their symptoms may be.
Sometimes patients who do not have a doctor will come to the Emergency Room for care which is not urgent, but which may be causing discomfort or concern. Some patients who do have doctors or whose doctors' office sends them here will also arrive at the ER for less urgent care. We do not refuse to provide such care, but sometimes patients who are less ill may need to wait in our Waiting Room until those patients who have more urgent conditions are seen by our doctors and Nurse practitioners.
We will often try to provide patients who do not have a doctor with the names of doctors who are taking new patients. The best way to receive prompt, and comprehensive health care is to have a primary care doctor whom you see for routine physical exams and for non-emergency illness and injury. Your doctor is often the best person to provide this care for you.
Who Provides Emergency Room Care
At Heywood Hospital we have three types of professionals who provide care in the Emergency Room.
When you first arrive, you will be seen by a nurse who can help determine how urgent your care is in relation to the patients waiting to be seen. The process of figuring out whose care must be delivered first is called Triage (as explained above). This process is based on how serious the condition is. Those people who are most ill or most seriously injured are always seen first.
We also have Nurse Practitioners in the Emergency Department. This is a nurse with additional training and experience in order to provide many types of routine care under the guidance of the doctor. Nurse Practitioners have six years or more of training and are considered licensed independent practitioners, which means they can write prescriptions and order tests and procedures.
The role of the Nurse Practitioner in our Emergency Center is to do a physical assessment of your condition, to start a plan of care, to interpret test and lab results and to determine necessary treatment such as writing prescriptions, ordering additional test and developing your discharge plan and follow-up care.
In some cases, the Nurse Practitioner will provide all of the care you receive, in consultation with the doctor as necessary. If you choose to see the doctor, we will accommodate your preference in as timely a fashion as possible.
The doctors who work in Heywood Hospital's Emergency Center are all Board Certified and have special training, skills or experience in providing emergency care. The emergency room doctor on duty is responsible for the care of every patient who comes into the Emergency Center. On some days more than 80 patients may come into the ER during a 12-hour shift. Sometimes it is very difficult for the doctor to answer all of your questions or to meet all of your needs for information and advice.
Please do not hesitate to ask your doctor questions, and to make it clear when you do not understand something. We also suggest that you ask the nurse who gives you instructions upon discharge to explain anything you did not understand.
There are many ways to get the information you need and want. We try to give you as much of that information as we possibly can, but sometimes you may think of more questions when you get home, or something about your condition may change. Please do not hesitate to call your doctor if you have a concern or need more information. Your own doctor will receive information from us about your visit the next day.
PLEASE NOTE: The doctors and nurse practitioners at Heywood Hospital are not employed by Heywood Hospital. Their services are provided through a contract with Bay State Emergency Medicine.
In some cases, a patient's condition may require us to transfer them to another facility such as UMass Medical Center in Worcester. Sometimes this transfer takes place in a helicopter, and sometimes it is made by ambulance. In every case, our doctors will do everything they can to stabilize the patient before transporting him or her.
Sometimes we have to transfer a patient because the insurance company or HMO requires the patient to go to a certain hospital or urgent care center for some types of care. If you are in a true emergency situation, your HMO or insurance plan will direct you to go to the nearest emergency room. We never refuse to care for a patient because he/she has no insurance or is unable to pay for their care. We also never turn away someone who needs immediate medical attention for a life threatening illness or injury.
Emergency Departments can be scary places. We understand that you may be in pain, or feeling confused or angry about your condition or your injury. If you are ill or injured, we want to do everything we can to provide the care you need as quickly as possible. If you would like to speak to someone about the care you received in our Emergency Room, you may complete one of the comment cards located in the Waiting Room or to speak to someone, call the Patient Satisfaction Hot Line at (978) 630-6538. You may also receive a survey about your experience in our ED from survey company Press Ganey. Please do take a moment to complete and return the survey.
We care about what you think, and value your opinions on how we can better meet your needs for emergency care and treatment. Thank you.