Emergency Medicine

Patient & Family Visit Guide

The Emergency Department thanks patients for entrusting their care to Penn Medicine.

What Should a Patient Bring?
  • Personal identification (Drivers License, Social Security card, etc)
  • All current medications (List, labels, or bottles)
  • Insurance information (BlueCross/BlueShield, Aetna, etc)
  • Emergency contact numbers
Arriving to the Emergency Room
  • Patients must first sign in at the registration desk.
  • After signing in, the patient will take a seat and the triage nurse will call the patient’s name when ready.
  • During triage, an experienced nurse will take the patient’s vital signs and ask questions about his or her symptoms. The patient will be asked to give the triage nurse their medical history as well as to list their current medications and allergies.
  • The triage nurse will assign the patient to a treatment area, either fast track or the main emergency department, and then ask the patient to have a seat in the waiting area.
Treatment Areas
Main Emergency Department — Patients with serious illness or injuries as well as patients who require multiple tests (x-rays, blood tests, scans) will be assigned to this area.

Fast Track — This is an area for patients with minor injuries or illness such as sore throats, broken bones, and sprained ankles.

While a Patient is Waiting
  • In the Emergency Department, patients are seen based on their type of illness or injury. Patients with the most serious conditions will be treated first. Everyone will be seen as soon as possible.
  • If a patient’s symptoms worsen or change while in the waiting area, they should notify an Emergency Department staff member.
  • Experienced members of the Emergency Department’s staff may begin taking x-rays or drawing blood work while patients are in the waiting area.
  • Patients are asked not to eat or drink before checking with the triage nurse as this can interfere with some procedures.
  • If a patient needs to use the bathroom, they should notify the triage nurse to see if a urine sample is needed.
In the Treatment Area
  • The patient will enter the assigned room and change into the hospital gown provided. Bags are provided in each room for clothing and personal belongings.
  • If taken to fast track, the patient is asked to take a seat as directed and wait for further instructions from the nurse.
  • When the Emergency Department is very busy and low on beds, the patient may be assigned to a bed in the hallway. This is done to decrease the patient’s wait time and for the patient to be seen more quickly by a physician. If necessary, patient exams will be performed in a private room.
Admission and Discharge
  • If the doctor determines that a patient needs to stay in the hospital, they will be in the Emergency Department until a bed is assigned. Once a bed is assigned, a nurse will arrange transport to the patient’s room. The length of time a patient will be in the Emergency Department depends on the availability of beds in the hospital.
  • When treatment is complete and the doctor feels the patient can go home, a nurse will review instructions and any necessary prescriptions with the patient. The patient should arrange follow up care as directed in the discharge instructions.
Getting Home
  • If the patient arrived via ambulance or public transportation, they should be sure to make early arrangements for transportation home.
  • A phone and a list of taxi services is available in the waiting area.
Managing Pain
The goal of the Emergency Department at Penn Medicine is to make patients feel comfortable by safely managing their pain. A nurse will assess a patient’s pain using a 1-10 scale, helping the medical team better understand and treat the patient’s pain. Depending on the illness/injury, it may be difficult to totally relieve a patient’s pain.

Visitor Policy
Family is encouraged to participate in a patient’s care. Visitors will be allowed based on the following policy:

  • Main Emergency Department - 2 visitors
  • Hallway Beds - 1 visitor
  • Fast Track - Visitors wait in the lobby
Personal Behavior
Patients are responsible for their own actions at all times. The Emergency Department’s goal is to provide excellent care. Patients are expected to treat all staff members with respect. Violent or inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated.

  • A patient should let a staff member know their location at all times.
  • Patients must notify a triage nurse upon leaving the waiting area.
  • Patients are responsible for their personal property and should secure all their belongings.

Contact Us

Our Emergency Rooms, for general information:

  • HUP (Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania): (215) 662-3920
  • PPMC (Penn Presbyterian Medical Center): (215) 662-8215
  • PAH (Pennsylvania Hospital): (215) 829-3358

For emergencies, call 911.