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Going to the Hospital


The decision to go to a hospital – or not – can be confusing. Here are a few things to consider that may help you decide whether to seek healthcare.

In some situations, you may need to seek help at a hospital’s emergency department (ED). You may take yourself there, or ask family or friends to take you. You or someone you ask may also call 911 for emergency services, or the appropriate number for an ambulance. Reasons for visiting the ED can range from chest pain and shortness of breath, to heavy bleeding and non-minor trauma.

Depending on the reason for your visit, you may be admitted from the ED to the hospital for further observation or treatment. Once in the hospital, the length and extent of your stay will vary based on the care and treatment necessary to get you back to health. The ED is not the only means to hospital admission; your doctor may also request or arrange for you to be taken to the hospital. They could see you in the office or clinic and make a direct admission. Or, perhaps you are a nursing home or rehabilitation patient and you require admission, or you may be transferring from another hospital.

With elective admission, you require hospital care, but choose to wait for a more convenient time. Often, your best choice for non-emergent hospital care is the hospital where your doctor practices. Your doctor knows you best and can generally direct your care in a more efficient manner. They have a better understanding of your past medical history and healthcare needs.