Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Do you know what your medical care options are?

By Dan Barber, Public Affairs Officer
Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital

Anytime you have an immediate life-threatening medical problem you should call 911.

Our medical staff here at the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital would rather have the patients err on the side of caution with the realization that when they arrive at our Emergency Medicine Department (EMD) that our professional staff will assess the medical condition with a process called Triage.

If your condition warrants it, immediate medical attention will be given. However, if the medical staff determines that your condition is not life-threatening you may have to wait before treatment is rendered, while patients with unstable illnesses or injury are taken care of first.

On occasion you may have to wait for several hours to be taken care of. This process is necessary in every emergency room where medical care is never given on a first-come first-served basis.

The hospital’s EMD is not designed to be a walk-in clinic, in most cases, patients seeking care for an illness in the EMD, may be better cared for by their Primary Care Provider.

With this in mind and in the interest of providing the best possible care for patients presenting for care in the EMD, the Emergency Room Triage Nurse has the ability of contacting Central Appointments or the Clinic Registered Nurse (during normal business hours) so an appropriate health care provider can better assess treatment for an illness and allow the patient to avoid a potentially long wait in the EMD. “We want to make sure that all of our patients coming into the EMD for treatment are given the care they need. If they choose to wait in the EMD to see a doctor, they will be allowed that choice,” said HMC (SW/AW) William Monroe, the hospital’s Customer Relations Officer.

“It is always in the patient’s best interest to call the Appointment line at 830-2752 to obtain a same day appointment. A scheduled appointment minimizes waiting time that would typically be experienced with an emergency room visit. In addition, before you leave the clinic, it is better that you book any necessary follow up appointments with the clerk at the front desk or the clinic nurse you are visiting or by calling 830-2752,” Monroe added.

If your symptoms are not severe enough to prompt you to seek an appointment, the Naval Hospital offers an Over-the-Counter (OTC) medication dispensing program for your convenience. OTC medications may be obtained for family members between 2-18 years old and only by a parent or guardian. Patients who are not eligible to receive OTC medications are pregnant or breast-feeding mothers, children less than two years old, and those who are currently in flight status or in the Personal Reliability Program.

All patients must have a valid military identification card in their possession at the time of dispensing.

Each family member will be eligible to receive a maximum of four different items in a three-month period. These medications will be entered into each person’s computer prescription record to screen for allergies, overlapping medications and duplications.

A request form must be completed, which includes a brief question-and-answer assessment of your medical condition(s) and current medication(s) you are taking. You will receive a handout discussing the proper use, dosages, cautions and side effects associated with the medications you request and receive. If your medical condition does not improve or if it worsens within 48 hours, you should seek advice from a medical professional.

This program is designed to offer access to many common cough and cold, sore throat, fever, headache, stomach upset and minor gynecological conditions that are listed below:

* Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 325mg tablets & elixir
* Ibuprofen (Motrin) 200mg tablets & suspension
* Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) capsules & elixir
* Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) tablets & syrup
* Triprolidine w/ pseudoephedrine (Actifed) tablets & elixir
* Guaifenesin (Robitussin) syrup
* Guaifenesin w/ dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM) syrup
* Saline nasal spray/drops
* Cepacol throat lozenges* Maalox (regular) 5 ounce bottle
* Clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin) 1 percent vaginal cream (not for the patient’s first yeast infection and only one issue every 6 months)

“Have you ever considered that you, as a patient, have a major impact on the type and quality of care you receive at your Naval Hospital… we are here for you, said Monroe. “Every decision made by the leadership of Navy Medicine is made with you the patient in mind. How can the best possible care be delivered to you with assets available… facilities, money and staff,” Monroe added.