If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.
When sudden and severe illnesses affect you and your family, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center’s Emergency Department is ready to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our dedicated physicians, nurses and specialty staff are trained to respond to any emergency medical situation.
Our emergency department includes dedicated treatment for:
- Cardiac care
- Stroke care
- Blood tests
A Special Note on When to Use Emergency Care
It is important for patients to understand that Emergency Departments are for true emergencies. If you don’t know whether your emergency is life-threatening or not, take the safe approach and come in. However, if you don’t need this high level of care, consider options such as more affordable urgent care or a visit to your general practice physician.
Certified Stroke Center
In partnership with the Hycy and Howard Hill Neuroscience Institute, our specially trained physicians and emergency staff have been at the forefront of stroke and neurological care in the San Fernando Valley and Verdugos.
Our full spectrum of care for stroke patients includes:
- Support services
- Continuing education
- Medical and surgical treatment including:
- “Clot-buster” medications
- Medications to reduce brain swelling
- Medications to help protect the brain
- Life support measures
STEMI Heart Attack Receiving Center
The State Department of Health Services and Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency have designated our emergency department as a STEMI Receiving Center (ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction), or heart attack treatment center.
The STEMI Receiving Team in the Emergency Department coordinates closely with local paramedics, rapidly mobilizing our Providence Coronary Catheterization Team, interventional cardiologists, and cardiothoracic surgeons to ensure the best possible outcomes.
Pediatric Emergency Care
Our Emergency Department is certified by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services as an Emergency Department Approved for Pediatrics (EDAP). When the 9-1-1 system is activated, sick and injured children are taken to hospitals with this designation first.
Our Emergency Department has met the rigorous pediatric emergency care standards required for certification, including:
- Board-certified emergency department physicians
- Nurses and technicians specially trained in pediatric emergency care
- Staffing provision for pediatric consultation to support pediatric emergency care services
- Availability of essential pediatric equipment, supplies and medications
- Implementation of protocols for the treatment of the abused child, critically injured children and those children requiring transfer to a specialized care center
Helpful Tips for Your Emergency Department Visit
- Provide support and comfort to the patient as best you can. This might mean asking for a blanket, or just talking to your family member.
- Trust your judgment. Tell the Emergency Department staff if you think that something is wrong or not going as well as it should. Be polite, but clear and firm, about any problems.
- Speak up on behalf of your family member. Tell the Emergency Department staff all they need to know to care for your family member. This includes how to contact your family member's primary care doctor.
- Speak clearly and use a neutral or friendly (not angry) tone of voice. Make sure to listen as well as talk.
- Stay calm. Our Emergency Department staff knows how hard this can be. The best way you can help is by calmly speaking up for your family member's needs. Ask to speak with the doctor, nurse, social worker, or patient representative if you think your family member is not being treated fairly or with enough respect.
- Do not leave your family member alone. You or someone else should stay with your family member until the Emergency Department staff decides on a treatment plan. Staff may limit this to just one person, or they may ask you to leave if the ER is very crowded, or if they need to perform a procedure. You can still wait in the waiting room. Ask when and how you should come back in.
- Tell the staff if your family member is confused, or frightened, or has dementia or Alzheimer's disease. If so, it is extra important that you stay in the ER with your family member. Tell the staff if your family member is hard of hearing, or is nearsighted.
- Tell the Emergency Department staff if your family member speaks a language other than English, and if they would feel more comfortable communicating in that language.
- Write down important information. This includes your questions as well as what the staff says about discharge and medications. It also helps to take notes when the staff gives updates about your family member's health.
- Stay focused. You are in the ER because your family member needs medical care. Stay focused on what he or she needs, not other events going on in the busy ER.
We know that for most people, the emergency room is a foreign and frightening place. Patients, families and emergency department staff are in close quarters, with a wide range of illnesses and injuries all together in one location. A lot can be happening very quickly. The other patients around you are not feeling well, or are in pain from their injuries. You and your family may see and hear things that make you uncomfortable.We try our best to make the Emergency Department as comfortable and calm as possible. We work hard to foster an atmosphere of normalcy, to help ease the stress of each patient's illness or injury, and make it easier for the patient and their family to understand their treatment.
We also do our best to maintain an atmosphere of normalcy for our Emergency Department staff. They have stressful jobs. We count on them each minute of the day to make life-saving decisions. While many Emergency Departments across the country face problems with staff "burnout," we have been able to hire and retain some of the best staff in the country, staff members who give our patients the best care current science can provide. We take our jobs and your health very seriously. At the same time, we try to provide as normal and pleasant a working atmosphere as possible for our staff. By maintaining a calm demeanor, by talking about everyday happenings like the weather or the latest sports event, even by laughing and joking about our everyday experiences, our emergency department staff is able to lower the stress level for our patients and their families as well as for themselves. If you have any concerns, please let us know. In the emergency room, we are one big family, and everyone's health is our priority.
The Emergency Department registration process is designed to obtain all the information needed to identify you, find your previous records, and direct your care. We do our best to make it as simple as possible.
It is not uncommon for several patients to arrive at the same time. When this happens our nurses need to "triage" the patients, deciding who is the sickest and needs the most urgent attention. We wish we could take care of everyone immediately. Patient care and safety, however, is our first priority. When we are crowded, the sickest must be treated first. If you or your loved one is not among the "sickest," please know that we are monitoring everyone's condition, and will get to you as soon as possible.
We treat everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.
Our experienced nurses specialize in emergency care -- many have been working in the emergency department for most of their careers. Each day they commit themselves to caring for sick and injured people, specializing in rapid assessment, prompt treatment, and communicating with the physicians, technicians and other staff to make sure each patient receives the care they need. Even though the Emergency Department is frequently a hectic atmosphere, where every second counts, the nurses continue to perform their most important duties:
- Keeping you safe
- Keeping your doctors informed
- Starting your IV's
- Administering medications
- Smiling and being friendly and supportive
Phlebotomy (Drawing Blood or Starting an IV)
There aren't many who are a fan of having their blood drawn. In the Emergency Department, however, blood work may be vital in order to determine your condition and treatment. Our phlebotomists are specially trained just in drawing blood. They do everything possible to make the process comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.
In the Emergency Department, an x-ray may be vital to determine your diagnosis and treatment. Scientists and physicians agree that when imaging is necessary for immediate medical intervention, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
The amount of radiation you receive from an X-ray is very low. According to the Radiological Society of North America, exposure from a chest X-ray is equal to the amount of radiation received in 10 days from everyday sources, such as radon gas in our homes, the sun, and cosmic radiation from outer space. Still, if you fear an X-ray could be harmful, discuss your concerns with your doctor. The radiation exposure from CT scans is significantly higher than from a single X-ray. MRI and ultrasound produce no radiation exposure.
If there is any chance that you are pregnant, be sure you tell any doctor or dentist ordering an X-ray. There is a slight risk that the X-rays will harm your developing child. This is because your child's tissues are growing rapidly, making them more sensitive to radiation than tissues of an adult.
So, for your unborn child's safety, X-rays should not be taken of your abdomen and should be taken of other parts of your body only after you have been fitted with a special shield for your abdomen
Our current Emergency Department is open during construction. Free valet parking is available for Emergency Department patients.
Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center is planning to build a replacement Emergency Department and separate Urgent Care to better meet the needs of the San Fernando Valley and Verdugos communities.
The proposed Emergency Department will feature 44 beds in private rooms, improved Fast Track and triage areas, and a dedicated imaging lab.