Over the past month, I’ve seen the waiting room at CCH a lot more than I care for. Every time, I waited between 4 and 12 hours to be seen. This is a normal occurrence if you’re not dying, as it should be: emergencies go first, sniffles go last.
Over the week-end, I found myself in excruciating pain again and having been seen and discharged without answers at CCH, then followed up with my family doctor with little result, I decided to go to Ottawa. A quick search online returned a few hospitals and I noticed that for a couple of them, CHEO and Montford, the ER wait times were posted right on their website. What a brilliant idea!
Before I even got there, I knew that my wait time would be around 4 hours. That allowed me to make an informed decision as to whether I was up for that wait or not. When your pain is at level 10, you don’t always feel like sitting for hours. I figured that if 4 was posted, I should prepare for 6. I made sure I took enough medication to last this long and packed up a sandwich in case I got hungry. I was mentally and physically prepared.
I understand the counter argument from those against posting ER wait times. I know that ER patients are triaged in priority sequence, therefore, the posted times can be volatile. But I’m sure most of us realize that. In this day and age, I’m sure there is an algorithm that can take volatility into consideration when calculating wait times. Either way, posting an apporximate allows patients to have some sort of idea of what to expect. Heck, if anything, I may even reduce the congestion! How many times have you driven to the ER and turned around when you see it’s packed? I know I did a few times recently.
I was impressed with the process at Montford.
A) Spoke to the welcome attendant who took my health card and gave me my bracelet.
B) Was called immediately to triage where I explained what I was in for.
C) Called to registration.
D) Saw initial doctor, who ordered Xrays and Pain meds. All this was done right away, within an hour of my arrival. E) called back to triage and directed to a different area F) saw the doctor who had reviewed my xrays. The doctor was kind, listened to me attentively, examined me (note that I was there for back and shoulder pain, same reason as CCH, who never even looked at my shoulder), gave me my diagnosis and gave me referrals.
I was out in 6 hours.
Emergency rooms (ERs) serve as lifelines for individuals in critical conditions, and their ability to promptly attend to patients can mean the difference between life and death. However, long ER wait times have become a prevalent issue, causing frustration and anxiety among patients and their loved ones. In the spirit of transparency and accountability, Montford Hospital stands out as an example, having taken the initiative to publicly disclose their ER wait times. This practice not only empowers patients but should also serve as an inspiration for other healthcare institutions to follow suit.
What do you say, CCH?