Frequently Asked Questions About Our Emergency Department
How long will my child’s ED visit take?
Expect your child's care to take several hours. If you have other children who need your care, please plan for this early in your visit.
Why do I have to wait after I see the triage nurse?
In the ED, we see patients in the order of how sick they are. A sicker patient may get called back before your child. Even if they do not look sick, they may have a condition where they need to be seen more urgently.
Why do I have to wait after the nursing assessment to see the doctor, PA or NP?
There are many reasons for this, especially during busy times. All the rooms may be full, or the medical staff may be interrupted by a sudden critical emergency. We make every effort to see our patients as fast as possible.
Why was another family taken back to the treatment area before me even though I have been waiting longer?
All patients will be seen, but those with life-threatening or severe illnesses or injuries will be seen first. Patients may be sicker than they appear and so they may be seen before your child, even if they arrived after your family.
Why does everything take so long?
We know this is the most difficult part of being in the ED. We try our best to see all patients quickly, but sometimes there is a long wait. This can be because there is a very sick child who needs the help of a lot of doctors and nurses, there was a large accident with several injured children, or the rest of the hospital is very busy.
What precautions are you taking to keep me and my family safe in the ED?
We understand that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can make seeking medical care very scary. The ED is taking special precautions to safeguard the health and well-being of our patients, families, and community at large.
All patients ages 2 and older, as well as adults, must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth
Washing or sanitizing hands often is encouraged
Social distancing is not required while wearing your mask
How many people can visit my child in the emergency department?
We ask that only two (2) adults be in the treatment area with a child at a time. Other children with you can stay with you and the patient, but we will ask you to stay with them outside of the room for any procedures.
We are hungry. What is there to eat?
If your child might need a procedure or surgery, or they are having a tummy issue, they may not be allowed to eat or drink right now. Please ask the nurse before you feed them.
Vending machines are in the hallway inside and outside the ED waiting room
If your child is in the treatment area and is being observed or admitted, we can order a lunch or dinner tray. We can order a tray for your child only and only during limited lunch and dinner hours. Ask a staff member if this is an option for your child
When you are taken back to a treatment area, there are free snacks available, including formula and food for your baby—just ask a staff member! Make sure to let us know if you or your child have any food allergies
Order takeout, Uber Eats or Postmates
Tell the driver to come to the Children’s ED at 1310 Southern Avenue SE, Washington DC, 20032
What directions do I give to another adult or ride-sharing service who is coming to the hospital?
Tell them to come to the Children’s Emergency Department at UMC. The address is 1310 Southern Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20032. They can park in the parking lot or pick you up in front of the ED.
Is there free Wi-Fi?
Yes. We offer a free guest wireless network for patients, families and guests at our main campus. To connect, select “Bear Air” as the wireless network on your device. You may want to enable wireless calling so you can make phone calls if you are not able to get cellular service.
Why do I have to sit in chairs instead of a private room?
We do not always have enough private rooms for each patient. We care for patients in other treatment areas so that you don’t have to wait as long. The patients in private rooms are usually very sick, need a procedure or need to be isolated from other patients. You have been placed in a treatment area where our team can find you. At times we may start your care in a room and then need to move you to another location to wait for results or medications. We do this when we have a lot of patients to care for and appreciate your understanding.
How long will my visit take when I am in the treatment area?
Every visit is different because we provide personalized care to your child based on their specific age, symptoms and medical history. You may need to wait to be seen by a specialist or the doctors and nurses may need to wait for the results of a test. Radiology (X-ray, CT, ultrasound, MRI) test results may take 30 minutes to 1 hour and lab test results may take 1-2 hours. If you are not sure what you are waiting for or if you think your child is getting worse, let a staff member know right away.
I have a compliment or a complaint about my ED visit. Who do I talk to?
First, speak with your nurse or ED provider. We want to work with you to provide the best care for your child. In addition, you may ask to speak to the charge nurse or charge doctor in the ED during your visit. You will also receive a survey after your visit where you can leave comments. We read all these surveys and value what you have to say. If you would like to share more about your experience, contact the Children’s National Ombudsman Team at 202-476-2064.