Published on September 03, 2012

Is this an emergency?

ER signA visit to the ER can mean a long wait and pricey bill.

But what if you’re not sure you have an emergency?

“Patients tend to utilize the ER, in place of their physician, when they experience a change in symptoms related to their illness,” says Karen Martin-Anderson, RN, performance improvement specialist at Mercy Home Health. “Mercy Home Health’s experienced, licensed home care nurses and therapists show you how to take charge and manage your illness with confidence. You’ll often find that a primary care doctor, working together with Home Health staff, can begin interventions to stabilize your health so you can remain at home.”

When it’s Time to Call a Doctor:

  • RESPIRATORY DISEASE: When you have a worsening cough or are unable to tolerate activity.
  • HEART FAILURE: If you gain 2 pounds overnight, 5 pounds in a week or have increased swelling in the feet.
  • CHRONIC PAIN: When you have an increase in your pain.
  • DIABETES: If you have signs of high blood sugar (tired, thirsty) or low blood sugar (dizzy, shaky).

Call 911 or Seek Emergency Care with:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Signs of heart attack, such as chest pain, pressure, tightness, squeezing or burning; or upper abdominal pain
  • Signs of stroke, such as sudden dizziness or weakness, numbness, tingling, inability to move a part of the body, trouble speaking or vision changes
  • Sudden, severe pain
  • Confusion, change in mental status or loss of consciousness
  • Uncontrollable bleeding, blood in the urine or black stool
  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • A fall from which you cannot get up
  • Any head injury
  • Medication overdose