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What Should I Bring To The ER?

Medically reviewed by Til Jolly, MD, Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen on January 7, 2023

Getting to the emergency room is a hectic time for anyone involved, and a lot of things can get left behind in the rush. This often leads to more harm than good, though, because emergency rooms–like any other part of the hospital–will require that patients have certain things with them to be admitted. Additionally, there are other things that you are going to need if you want the patient to have the best possible treatment. 




Emergency rooms must positively identify the patient being treated, so the first thing to make sure that you have with you is a valid photo identification of some kind for the patient and for anyone accompanying the patient, especially if the patient is unable to speak. Bring other relevant information as well, such as insurance cards or any medical paperwork.




A list of any medications that the patient is taking can help the ER personnel do their job better. The list should be as complete as possible, and specify which medications are prescriptions and which are over-the-counter items, such as vitamins or other supplements. It doesn’t hurt to make a list of these NOW, and keep it updated for when it’s needed. Some people even keep it on their phone, so it’s handy when they need it. If applicable, make note of any therapies or alternative treatments that the patient may have had as well. 


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Emergency Room - Preparation

Emergency Room - Preparation



Along with the patient’s medications, be ready with as complete a medical history as possible to present to the medical specialists. This should include any surgeries, recent illnesses, allergies, and chronic conditions relevant to the patient. If you have a heart problem or have had an abnormal electrocardiogram (EKG) in the past a copy of your most recent one may be helpful.  You may need to inform doctors of devices the patient uses, such as a pacemaker or insulin pump. Make sure that any devices and their accessories come with you to the hospital. The patient (and you) may also need glasses or hearing aids to make sure communication is at its best. The name and contact info of any current healthcare providers can be helpful as well. These lists can also be kept on a phone so they are available when needed.




A trip to the emergency room is an event that you’ll want to communicate to others–family, business associates, and many others are all likely parties to be directly impacted by a  hospitalization, and should be told about the problem as soon as it is safe to tell them. Having a list of contacts, or at least one person you can call who can then help communicate with others, is a good idea.




By definition, emergencies are stressful situations. Keeping your head and making sure to have certain things with you on your way out the door can make a trip to the ER smoother and ensure faster and more accurate care for the patient. 

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