Why the wait? Understanding Emergency Department wait times

Why the wait? Understanding Emergency Department wait times

At Olympic Medical Center, your health and well-being are top priorities. We understand that visiting the emergency department can be a stressful experience, especially when waiting to be seen. We appreciate your patience and want to explain why wait times can vary from one day to the next.

Factors affecting wait times

Our emergency department is a bustling place, with our dedicated healthcare professionals working tirelessly to provide the best care to all our patients. How quickly we can attend to each patient can be influenced by several factors:

  1. Patient volume: We often experience a higher influx of very sick patients requiring higher and more immediate attention. We triage each patient upon arrival to ensure the most critically ill or injured patients receive the most immediate care.
  2. Patient transfers: Occasionally, we may need to transfer patients to other specialized hospitals for specific treatments or services that we may not be able to provide. When we are unable to transfer patients in this scenario, this can limit the number of available beds in our emergency department.
  3. Hospital bed availability: Ensuring the availability of hospital beds for patients who require hospital admission is essential. Sometimes, limited bed capacity in our hospital, as well as tertiary care hospitals elsewhere, can contribute to extended wait times in the emergency department.
  4. Longer term patients: Some patients need to stay in the emergency department while we await an appropriate inpatient bed for their needs. This impacts the overall flow in the ED.

Our commitment to you

While wait times may fluctuate, please know that we are dedicated to providing you with the best care possible. Our healthcare professionals are continually working to ensure each patient receives timely, personalized attention—even starting care in the waiting room.

Tips for your Emergency Department visit

  • Stay Informed: Our staff will keep you informed about any potential delays or changes during your visit. Feel free to ask questions if you have concerns or require further information.
  • Come Prepared: Bring any relevant medical records, a list of medications, and your insurance information to facilitate a smooth check-in process.
  • Emergency vs. Walk in Clinic: For non-urgent issues that can be seen in a primary care setting, consider visiting your primary care provider or the Walk-in Clinic for more prompt attention.
  • Seek Support: Our dedicated staff is here to support you throughout your visit. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need assistance.

Thank you for trusting us with your care

Your well-being is our priority, and we will continue to strive to provide efficient, compassionate care to every patient who comes through our doors.

Thank you for choosing Olympic Medical Center. We look forward to serving you with the utmost care and dedication.

To learn more about our emergency department, visit www.olympicmedical.org/services/emergency-services