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What to Expect

Our goal is to care for your health needs as quickly as possible. It may be helpful to learn a few things about how we operate.

This Emergency Department is one of the busiest in the state. In an average year, our medical staff cares for more than 45,000 patients, regardless of their ability to pay.

When You Arrive

As you arrive, a quick assessment will be made of your injury or illness by a triage nurse before your personal information is obtained. Triage is a sorting of patients into categories corresponding to their severity of illness or injury. How quickly you are taken into the Emergency Department depends on that assessment and on how busy the ED is - and not necessarily on the order of your arrival.

During that initial assessment, a nurse will determine the severity of your condition. A triage acuity level will be assigned to your case, in order to prioritize patients for treatment according to medical necessity. This will allow patients with the most serious medical problems to be seem first.

Treatment Assessment

At LGH, patients that are unconscious or have life-threatening health issues will be seen first in the ED. Patients with semi-urgent conditions like sprains, strains and minor cuts and burns, and patients with non-urgent conditions, like minor illnesses will be routed to the ED's "Fast Track" area. Urgent patients may be seen in either the main ED or in the Fast Track, depending on their illness.

Fast Track Care - For Life's Minor Emergencies

Available seven days a week, from 8 a.m. - 1a.m for patients with non-urgent conditions or those that are easily identified, Fast Track will help you get treated and get on your way as quickly as possible.

In the "Fast Track" area, you will most likely be seen by a physician's assistant or nurse practitioner who has direct contact with a physician should he or she be needed. In addition, a specialized nurse practitioner is on staff to treat pediatric patients.

Your Treatment Team

Whether you are taken into the general emergency room or Fast Track, a primary care nurse is assigned to your case and will coordinate your care with all the necessary healthcare professionals. She will be the first nurse you see when you enter a treatment room. Your primary nurse will ask a number of questions about your emergency situation, your general health and your medications.

All emergency department nurses are certified by the American Heart Association in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), and hold national TNCC (Trauma Nursing Core Course) and ENPC (Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course) certifications from the Emergency Nursing Association, which is true at only a handful of hospitals in the state.

Your Primary Nurse

Your primary nurse is the first nurse you see when you enter a treatment room. You should bring any questions or concerns to the attention of your primary nurse immediately. Our goal is to take care of you quickly, provide you with the very best care possible, and send you home with complete satisfaction.

The length of time from when you get a room until you see the doctor will again vary on your assessment. In addition, the doctor may be waiting for the return of test results before being able to treat your condition.

Guests and Visitors

Guests and visitors are welcome in the ED, but we do ask that you be considerate of other patients and hospital personnel. For patient protection, the Emergency Department is a NO CELL PHONE area. Please use cellular phones in areas of the hospital designated by signs only, such as the cafeteria and lobby.

We recommend appointing a family member or friend as a liaison to be in the ED with you and who can relay messages to other visitors waiting in the lobby. The liaison is also important so that doctors and nurses don't need to repeat information about your care to each visitor. It also helps ensure that confidential information isn't given out to someone you don't want.

There may be times that all visitors will be asked to leave a patient's room. This allows tests to be done without infringing on anyone's privacy and our staff to focus completely on the patient's treatment.

While You Wait

Just across the hall from the lobby are several vending machines, and down the hall and around the corner is the hospital's cafeteria. But if you're the patient, please check with your nurse before eating or drinking anything. Some tests require fasting for a period of time in order to get accurate test results. There's also a chapel for meditative time. A chaplain is available upon request.

Waiting can be frustrating, but keep in mind that in addition to those seated around you, the emergency department is also receiving patients by ambulance as well. Because its entrance is behind the hospital, you're not able to see that activity.

What Happens Next

Most of the patients who go through the emergency department are sent home after treatment, however some are admitted. Should that occur, your primary care physician will be notified - or the hospital can provide a physician for you. You will be moved from the ED as soon as a bed in the proper department is available.

Follow-Up Nurse

If you are told to follow-up after leaving the hospital, or if you have any questions about your illness or treatment orders, contact our Follow-up Nurse.

Care You Can Trust

You can be confident of the care you receive at Lowell General Hospital. Everyone in the ER is highly trained and experienced. Your health care team consists of physicians, nurses, physician's assistants and other ancillary providers. Most of our nurses have additional certifications in areas such as advanced life support and trauma and all are critically care trained.

The medical expertise at LGH draws many paramedic and nursing students to our facility for training. If you do have contact with any students, they work under the guidance and supervision of our staff.


If you have any questions about your emergency room care while you are here, please ask for your primary nurse. This is the person responsible for coordinating all aspects of your visit and resolving any problems that you may have while in the ED.

Once you're discharged, if you have any ideas for improvement, or would like to express appreciation for the care you've received, we welcome your feedback. Please contact the Director of Emergency Services at 978-937-6530.

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