Emergency Services

ER Wait Time

The Emergency Department (ED) average wait time is provided as an informational service to the public. It is approximate, and based on a rolling average that is updated four times an hour and does not represent the actual current activity in the ER waiting room.

The ED wait time represents the time it takes from arrival until a patient is initially seen by a Clinical Professional (Physician, Physician Assistant or Advanced Practice Nurse). Patients are triaged upon their arrival in the ED. They are then seen by a Clinical Professional in an order based on their complaint, condition, and the reason for their visit.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

Cooper Health Alliance

Salem Medical Center has teamed with Cooper Emergency Medicine. Cooper’s ER physicians are here at Salem Medical Center 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide care to patients and their families. The emergency department at Cooper University Hospital is one of the busiest emergency departments in the state and its doctors know in a medical emergency, every minute matters.

ER Service Pledge

To demonstrate our commitment to your care, the emergency department at Salem Medical Center participates in the 30 Minutes or Less ER Service Pledge.

What exactly is the 30-Minutes-or-Less ER Service Pledge?

When patients enter the emergency department, the time of their arrival will be noted. Our pledge is that a medical professional (physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner) will work diligently to have our patients initially seen within 30 minutes of their noted arrival.

Does this mean patients will be on their way home in 30 minutes or less?

No. We will work hard to have a medical professional initially see our patients and begin their evaluation and treatment within 30 minutes of their noted arrival. Depending on the nature of their illness or injury, and the unpredictable volume of patients requiring emergency care at any given time, the wait time and duration of each visit will vary.

How is the timeframe of patients' visits documented for this pledge?

When a patient arrives and checks in, the time of arrival will be noted. When the medical professional initially sees the patient, the time will be documented by the emergency department staff.

Is a 30-Minutes-or-Less ER Service Pledge really necessary for an emergency room?

In many emergency rooms across the country, wait times have been increasing. We want to assure our patients that we are dedicated to not only offering quality care but also to working diligently to provide that care as efficiently as possible.

When do the 30 minutes officially start?

The 30 minutes start when the patient checks in with our staff at the emergency room desk.

Does the 30-Minutes-or-Less ER Service Pledge affect how patients are prioritized?

While the goal is to initially see every patient within 30 minutes of their noted arrival, the most severe cases will always receive immediate attention.

How can the emergency department maintain quality care if speed is the priority?

It is not our objective now, nor will it ever be, to “rush” patients through the emergency department. Our process improvements have been focused on getting patients into a room as quickly as possible and enabling the medical professional to initially see a patient and begin their diagnosis and treatment in a timely manner.

Is the 30-Minutes-or-Less ER Service Pledge in effect at all times and does it apply to all ages - infants to senior citizens?

Yes.

Do I have to wait up to 30 minutes for someone to say, "May I help you?"

Absolutely not. Emergency department staff will greet you as soon as you come in, and a nurse will assess your condition through a triage process. We know your time is valuable and we pledge to work diligently to have a medical professional initially see you within 30 minutes of your noted arrival.

Does this cost more?

No.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

The Emergency department (ED) average wait time is provided as an informational service to the public. It is approximate, and based on a rolling average that is updated four times an hour and does not represent the actual current activity in the ER waiting room.

The ED wait time represents the time it takes from arrival until a patient is initially seen by a Clinical Professional (Physician, Physician Assistant or Advanced Practice Nurse). Patients are triaged upon their arrival in the ED. They are then seen by a Clinical Professional in an order based on their complaint, condition, and the reason for their visit.

While many patients are initially seen by a medical professional within 30 minutes of their arrival, during some peak times when the number of patients and/or trauma situations exceeds the number of providers or beds, some patients are not initially seen within 30 minutes of their noted arrival.

Should you have any additional questions about the 30-Minutes-or-Less ER Service Pledge, please ask any of our emergency department staff.

Preparing for an ER Visit

A trip to the ER can often be stressful or scary – but it doesn’t have to be. A few minor preparations can help your visit go smoothly.

What to Expect

  • Bring support. If you can, have a trusted friend or family member accompany you to the ER. This person can not only help you explain your condition to the ER staff, but they can also help you to understand and remember important medical information.
  • Honestly describe your illness – and don’t be afraid to use details. Any and all information regarding your condition may help ER staff make an accurate diagnosis and begin treatment quicker.
  • Be prepared to wait. In the ER, patients are seen by doctors according to the severity of their symptoms, not in the order of arrival. Being prepared to wait for your turn may decrease feelings of stress and anxiety.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask. During your visit to the ER, don’t be afraid to ask the physicians, nurses or staff if you do not understand. Tests, procedures, your diagnosis and even follow-up care instructions can be confusing.

What to Bring
If you are able to collect these without delay in seeking care, please bring the following items with you to the ER:

  • Contact information for your personal doctors
  • Detailed medical history and current condition information, including dates of major surgeries
  • Health insurance card and photo ID
  • List of any allergies you have
  • Names, dosages, and how often you are currently taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, vitamins or dietary supplements
  • Comfort items such as bottled water and a music player for yourself or a favorite blanket, book or toy for your child

Before Heading Home
Before leaving the ER, it’s important that you, or a trusted family member or friend, completely understands the information given to you by the ER staff. Understanding and following discharge instructions, including medications and/or home care procedures, are vital to helping your condition improve. If you do not understand any information given to you by the ER staff, ask for clarification.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.

Symptoms of an Emergency

Minor illnesses can often wait, but some symptoms always demand immediate medical attention. These can include things like head injuries, high fevers and signs of heart attack or stroke.

Recognizing Serious Illness or Injury
Fainting, fevers greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit in infants and 105 degrees in older children and adults, severe pain anywhere in the body, and significant vomiting and diarrhea require immediate evaluation. In terms of injuries, head injuries — especially those accompanied by loss of consciousness and/or vomiting — and deep wounds causing unmanageable bleeding are best managed in the ER.

Heart Attacks and Strokes
A heart attack is often recognized by symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath and upper-body discomfort, while stroke symptoms can include severe headache, disorientation, difficulty walking and/or speaking, and weakness or numbness on one side of the body.

But there are lesser-known signs of heart attacks and strokes that you might not be aware of. Women’s heart attack and stroke symptoms often differ from those experienced by men. Fatigue and nausea are common heart attack symptoms in women, while women’s stroke symptoms may include chest pain, heart palpitations, nausea and shortness of breath, according to the National Stroke Association.

The Bottom Line
Although the symptoms mentioned above are commonly associated with medical emergencies, you know your body best and should always feel comfortable seeking emergency medical care any time you experience unusual or concerning symptoms. This will not only set your mind at ease, but also ensure you have quick access to potentially lifesaving medical care, if needed.

This list is not comprehensive of all emergency symptoms. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.

Effectively all insurance contracts prior to the transition to Salem Medical Center on February 1, 2019, are currently active and in full force.