Emergency Care

University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital
(UM HMH) Emergency Department  


University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center
(UM UCMC) Emergency Department


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University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health (UM UCH)'s Emergency Departments (ED) care for over 85,000 patients a year. From major trauma to minor lacerations and bumps and bruises, it is important that when patients arrive in our ED they receive care that is fast, efficient, and provided in a comfortable and healing environment. Expedient care areas within both EDs provide patients with relatively minor illnesses or injuries a complete and time-efficient ED experience.

A separate Pediatric ED opened in 2008 at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center (UM UCMC). It is designed to be more pleasing and comfortable for children. These rooms are also equipped with instrumentation designed specifically for use in caring for children. In-house pediatrician coverage is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day at UM UCMC. The board-certified pediatricians will cover pediatric emergencies as well as provide coverage for the medical center's nursery and inpatient pediatric service.

Critically ill and injured patients are cared for in the Emergency Departments' trauma rooms, which are equipped for both pediatric and adult patients. Chest pain observation centers within both EDs feature monitored rooms. Cardiac treatment protocols for patients in this center were developed in conjunction with Universiry of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center's renowned Heart Institute.

The ED at University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital (UM HMH) and University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center (UM UCMC) feature a private and separate treatment room for patients who are victims of sexual assault. The SAFE (sexual assault forensic examination) rooms are equipped with a special camera documentation system. SAFE room nurses have been specially trained to collect evidence while attending to the emotional and physical needs of patients who have been sexually assaulted.

There are two separate entrances to the ED - one for ambulatory patients and one for ambulances. In addition, there is a special decontamination room near the ambulance entrance that has a separate door so patients can be cleansed from hazardous substances without contaminating other areas of the ED.

The ED at UM UCMC has its own radiology suite located within the department. This suite is dedicated to providing X-rays and imaging services to ED patients only, improving the turnaround time of diagnostic services. At UM HMH, the radiology exam rooms are located adjacent to the ED for convenience and efficiency.

Both EDs are staffed by physicians who are board certified, most in emergency medicine. The emergency nursing team members are certified in ALS (advanced life support).

Upon entrance into the ED, patients are pre-registered. This process involves providing the registrar your name, address, telephone number, social security number, and reason for visiting the ED. Patients should refrain from eating and drinking at this time.

A triage nurse looks at each patient's reason for visiting the ED to determine which patient needs immediate attention. The triage nurse obtains information from patients regarding their:

  • Allergies;
  • Daily medications;
  • Past medical history, and;
  • Brief description of illness or injury that brought the patient to the ED.

After triage, the nurse takes the patients to a ready room or they are asked to sit in the waiting room if a room is not readily available. If a patient's condition changes while in the ED waiting area, he/she should let the triage nurse know immediately. The ED team are caring for both patients that walk in and arrive by ambulance. Often patients in the waiting area cannot see or are unaware of the patients brought in directly to the main ED treatment areas by ambulance.

From the waiting area, patients are taken to the main ED treatment area or Expedient Care area depending on the nature of their illness or injury. Once in a treatment room, a nurse will provide a more extensive evaluation. A registration team member will complete the registration process. It is here that patients are interviewed and examined by an Emergency Physician or a Physician's Assistant.

In the main treatment area, patients may have IVs started, blood tests, X-rays or EKGs performed. Certain tests take time to process and complete. When the ED and other departments are busy, every effort is made to minimize delays and to keep patients informed.

We know the value of having family members present with the patient; however, we ask that only two visitors be back with the patient in the ED treatment area. Visitors are encouraged to remain in the patient's room so doorways and hallways are kept free of traffic. There are call bells in every room if a visitor or patient has a question. Telephones are located in each room for the convenience of patients and family members to call local family members.

To protect the patient's privacy and confidentiality, patients should choose a designated family member to call friends or family with any needed information. Medical information will only be given to the person designated by the patient.

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