Having an Emergency? New Call-Ahead Service at Fort Loudoun Allows Patients to Wait at Home

Have you ever had an injury or illness that required medical treatment, but you weren’t sure if your condition warranted a trip to the emergency room? Have you ever had to wait in an emergency room and didn’t know how long the wait would be? Covenant Health Fort Loudoun now offers an “ER Call-Ahead” service that allows patients who qualify to wait at home instead of in the emergency waiting area.

Emergency department wait times vary depending on the urgency of patients’ medical needs so that those with the most serious or life-threatening conditions can receive prompt care. Covenant Health hospitals make every effort to see emergency patients quickly and to make wait times as comfortable as possible, and many patients continue to receive care even if they are waiting for a room.

Conditions in which patients could utilize the ER Call-Ahead service at Fort Loudoun are if you are experiencing abdominal pain, broken bones, cough, ear pain, fever below 101, flu symptoms, minor injury such as sprained ankle, vomiting or diarrhea, or a sore throat.

This new service should not keep you from coming to the hospital in case of an emergency. But, if it’s appropriate you might be able to wait at home or in your car and receive a call to come in when it’s your turn to be evaluated.

You are always encouraged to seek urgent care, walk-in clinics, or a primary care physician for minor, non-life-threatening conditions before coming to the emergency room.

Emily Ingram, RN, manager of the Fort Loudoun Emergency Department, said, “This service is not for life-threatening emergencies but rather for caregivers or patients suffering from chronic illness and other non-life-threatening symptoms.” She added, “This service also serves those with sensory, behavioral, and mental issues that are more comfortable in their own environment (such as at home or in their car) until the moment they are able to be seen by an emergency medicine clinician.”

Emly Ingram smiling in black scrubs.
Emily Ingram, Nurse Manager Emergency Department

Ingram explains that this service may be especially helpful for those who are chronically ill, parents of children who need to be seen, manual labor trades that include high-risk or high exposure to chemicals, or who are immune-compromised. It can also be helpful if your symptoms don’t allow you to wait comfortably in a chair, you’re experiencing long wait times at another facility, or you have a stomach bug and you need to be close to a bathroom.

She says, “While there is no guaranteed appointment time or length of wait time, it does save your spot in line.”

Ingram would like to remind everyone to call 911 or come to the emergency room if you are experiencing chest pain, bleeding that will not stop, difficulty breathing, fainting or head injury, seizure, serious burn, severe allergic reaction, spinal injury, stroke, numbness, or facial drooping.

To reserve your spot in line call ahead at 865-271-6035.

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