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What to Expect in WakeMed's Children's Emergency Department

Emergency departments (EDs) can be a little scary and a little confusing. Don’t worry! We are here to help you and your child.

The following information will also help you understand how the WakeMed Children’s ED works and what you can expect while you are here.

Click on each item to expand the information.

By now your child should have received an identity armband. Please take a moment to review it and make sure the information on it is correct and that your child’s name is spelled correctly. The armband is important for your child’s safety and helps ensure your child receives the proper care that is intended for him/her.

You and one of our specially trained pediatric nurses will talk privately about the reason your child is here. The nurse will check your child’s blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and weight. Your child might have blood drawn or be asked for a urine sample. If the nurse orders an X-ray, please plan to wait in the waiting room until a staff member from Imaging Services comes to get you. Do not worry! We haven’t forgotten about you.

A staff member will ask for your Medicaid, Medicare, and/or insurance cards. If you do not have any of this information, just let the staff member know. You will also be asked for additional information including your address, phone number, and emergency contact information. Because your child’s safety is one of our highest priorities, the staff member will ask you to read back the information on your child’s armband to be sure it is correct.

Our physicians, nurses, therapists and technicians are specially trained in emergency medicine. They deliver state-of-the-art emergency care in a way that helps children feel more relaxed and more receptive to treatment. 

WakeMed Child Life Specialists are specially trained to reduce the stress and anxiety associated with medical procedures and the hospital/ED environment. These highly trained staff members offer your child comfort measures in the form of toys, games, iPods, movies and other positive distractions. Our Child Life Specialists also help you understand the care and services your child receives and will provide you with progress reports to help ease any fears you may have.

Because we treat the most seriously ill or injured patients first, many patients must wait in our waiting room before they receive care and after testing (such as lab work or X-rays) until test results are ready. This also means that children who come to the ED after you may be seen before you. Please know that we are doing our very best to see your child as quickly as possible. If you feel your child’s condition has changed or worsened, please tell the front desk nurse so your child can be rechecked.

If you are visiting a child in the Children’s ED, please obtain a visitor badge from the staff member at the front reception desk. The reception staff member will consult the patient’s nurse to see if it is appropriate for the patient to receive visitors. Certain other circumstances may require that we limit visitation in order to provide the best care for the patient. If you have any questions, please ask the reception staff. We appreciate your understanding.

Once a Children’s ED bed is available, the doctor will evaluate your child’s injury or illness. The doctor may also order tests for your child. When he/she receives your child’s test results, the doctor will make a diagnosis. The diagnosis will be based on your child’s test results and medical evaluation and will help determine if your child needs to be admitted to the hospital.

If the doctor decides that your child needs to be admitted to the WakeMed Children’s Hospital for additional care, you may need to wait in the Children’s ED for a hospital bed for your child. While we cannot tell you how long it will take for your child’s hospital bed to be ready, our Nursing staff will keep you informed.

(If your child is NOT admitted to the WakeMed Children’s Hospital) To be discharged means you and your child are welcome to leave the hospital and your child does not require a hospital stay. Discharge instructions are the instructions about how to care for your child that your nurse will give you before you leave the ED. Your child’s discharge instructions may include prescriptions for medications and how to take them, how to care for your child at home and any follow-up care recommendations, such as making an appointment with your child’s doctor to recheck your child’s condition. A staff member will ask you to sign your name stating you received and understand your child’s discharge instructions and prescriptions.

You will check out with a staff member to conclude your child’s visit and provide your co-pay if applicable.

Find ER Care Now

Need Emergency Care? Before you head out, let us know you are on the way. Visit the WakeMed MyChart App (iPhone or Android) and select Find ER Care Now. Choose your Emergency Room, check wait times and let us know you are on the way. We’ll be expecting you.

This new feature allows us to be better prepared for your visit, but it is not an appointment because in an emergency department patients are treated in the order of the severity of their illness. Knowing a patient is on their way and their condition allows our staff to better prepare for your arrival. Please note that if you are experiencing a life threatening emergency, call 9-1-1 and seek care immediately.

Find ER Care Now is for your convenience but not a requirement.