Emergency Care 2017-01-09T21:45:12+00:00

Emergency Care

Rio Grande Hospital Emergency Room

Evaluation and care for emergencies and acute illness is available 24 hours a day. Rio Grande Hospital is approved by the State of Colorado as a level IV trauma center. We provide a 5 Bed Emergency Room staffed 24 hours a day/7 days a week with nursing staff and physicians.

What is a Level IV Trauma Center?

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Rio Grande Hospital has been designated as a Level IV Trauma Center. A Level IV Trauma Center provides initial evaluation, stabilization, diagnostic capabilities and transfer to a higher level of care. Level IV Trauma Centers may provide surgical and critical care services as defined in the service’s scope of trauma care services. Level IV Trauma Centers provide immediate access to trauma-trained nurses and physicians upon arrival in the Emergency Department.

What to Expect at Rio Grande Hospital Emergency Room?

A visit to the Emergency Department can be a confusing and anxious time. Rio Grande Hospital will try to make the visit as pleasant as possible.

What Happens in Triage?

Triage is a French word that means to prioritize the sick by severity of illness. During triage, the nurse will evaluate your symptoms, take vital signs, review your current medications, and discuss your medical history. This process allows the nurse to see the most serious patients first even if they arrive after you.

What Happens Next?

Depending on room availability, you will be taken to a treatment room or the waiting room. If you are in the waiting room, staff may begin to order tests to speed up your emergency room visit. Please do not eat or drink anything without asking the triage nurse first. Please let the nurse know immediately if your condition worsens.

What Happens in the Treatment Area?

Once in the treatment area, each patient will be examined and evaluated by a qualified doctor. The doctor may order additional exams or tests as indicated by your physical exam. These studies may take time but are necessary to provide you with the best possible treatment. We know that waiting can be frustrating, and we want to thank you in advance for your patience.

What About Medications and Treatments?

The nurse will monitor you and administer prescription medications as ordered by the physician. Pain management is an important aspect of nursing care, and we will try many methods to move your pain to an acceptable level including warm packs, repositioning, ice packs, non-narcotic methods, relaxation methods, injections, and topical medications. Please know that staff members will work hard to help you find acute pain control with the nurse keeping you informed about your treatment plan. We regret that we cannot refill your chronic pain medications, but we will try to assist you in making an appointment with your primary care provider. Nursing is here to answer any questions or concerns about your plan of care.

Can I Have Visitors?

Rio Grande Hospital recognizes that having family at the bedside can ease the stress of an emergency room visit. Patient privacy and confidentiality of ALL patients is very important to us. Visitors may be limited to two people at the bedside. Patients should delegate a spokesperson to relay messages out to waiting family and friends. Please note that special circumstances may be considered when determining how many visitors will be allowed and how often.

What Happens After Treatment?

After treatment, you will be discharged, admitted to Rio Grande Hospital, or transferred to a higher care facility. If you are being transferred to higher level of care, the doctor will determine whether you will go by airplane, helicopter, ambulance, or private car. Rio Grande Hospital has a helipad on site and uses the local airstrip in Del Norte for most fixed wing transfers.

Deciding to Seek Emergent Care:

When deciding to seek emergency room care, please remember these signs:

Difficulty Breathing
Chest or Abdomen Pain or Pressure
Dizziness, Fainting, or Vision Changes
Mental Confusion or Difficulty Walking
Sudden Severe Pain or Vomiting
Bleeding that Won’t Stop After 10 minutes
Unusual Pain or Symptoms Causing Alarm

If you need emergency assistance, please dial 9-1-1 immediately.