Emergency Services at Rhode Island Hospital

Your Visit to the Andrew F. Anderson Emergency Center

Rhode Island Hospital is the only Level I Trauma Center for southeastern New England, providing expert staff and equipment in emergency situations 24 hours a day. Last year, nearly 150,000 patients were treated in our emergency center. A dozen regional hospitals routinely refer cases to the center, which usually sees about twenty critical cases each day.

Drawing of people of all ages in hospital waiting room

Why is there a wait time?

There are times when the ED is very busy, and we must always treat the most dangerous emergencies first. Many patients who arrive by ambulance are waiting in another area that you might not be able to see. We work hard to keep wait times as short as possible for everyone.

Here's what your visit may look like (PDF)

Your Arrival

When you first arrive, you will be met by some of our most experienced nurses. You will be asked several brief questions and have your vital signs taken. This will allow us to quickly assess the degree of your medical condition and ensure that urgent treatment, tests and medications are given. This process, called “triage,” ensures that patients with the most serious medical problems are treated first.

Because the center staff needs to be aware of your medical background, they will ask you many questions. Questions will often be asked by more than one center staff member.

You are the most important member of your health care team! Please be sure to let our staff know about:

  • Health problems you currently have or have had in the past
  • Prescribed and/or over-the-counter drugs you are taking
  • Any allergies you have
  • Recent trips you have taken outside of the United States
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Waiting To Be Seen

Once the triage process is complete you may experience a wait, during which our team is determining the most appropriate treatment for your condition. Waiting times vary, as we first treat patients who have the most serious injuries and conditions (for example, chest pain cases are seen before patients suffering from a swollen ankle; heart attacks have priority over earaches; complicated fractures are treated before small cuts). Patients who arrive by ambulance enter the emergency center through a different entrance, so while the waiting area may be relatively quiet, we can still be very busy treating many people.

We thank you for your patience during this time. Our team is available in the waiting area to assist you and answer any questions. We will update you on your wait as often as possible.

Your Turn For Treatment

Once you are brought to a treatment room you will be seen by more members of our care team. The team will further evaluate your medical needs and make recommendations for your course of treatment.

Other diagnostic tests, medications, IV fluids and procedures may be ordered, or a specialist may be called to participate in your care.

Rhode Island and Hasbro Children’s Hospital are teaching hospitals affiliated with the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. As part of our teaching mission, a resident physician or medical student may participate in your care. 

What to expect after treatment

If the emergency physician recommends admission to the hospital, he or she will discuss this with you and may call your primary care physician to make the necessary arrangements. If you do not have a physician, or your physician is not a member of the Rhode Island Hospital medical staff, we will arrange for a Rhode Island Hospital physician to care for you.

If you are to be discharged from the Anderson Emergency Center, a physician or nurse will review your written instructions with you, including any medications prescribed, and answer any questions you may have. You will be given a referral to your own physician, or possibly to a specialist for follow-up care. Please stop at our Discharge Center to complete your emergency care.

Need an Interpreter?

If you are non-English speaking, deaf or hard-of-hearing, and require an interpreter to communicate, please let a member of the emergency center staff know.

Tell us about your experience

At Rhode Island Hospital, we work hard to provide the highest quality emergency medical care. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to better your experience in the Andrew F. Anderson Emergency Center. We also encourage you to recognize any of our staff members who may have gone above and beyond to make your visit as comfortable as possible. Please contact us to tell us about your experience.