COVID-19: Vaccines, boosters, testing, and visitor guidelines. Please use ER for emergencies only.

Emergency Department

From routine emergency care to serious illness and trauma, our Level II Trauma Center meets the diverse needs of more than 85,000 patients treated in our Emergency Department each year. Our goal is to provide excellent safe care for all our patients.

In order to offer the most effective treatment for patients, our Emergency Department operates 24/7/365 and is divided into five sections:

  • Triage
  • Intake
  • ED Main
  • Fast Track
  • Behavioral Health Care Area

Do I need to visit the emergency department?

Not all unplanned medical issues require a visit to the emergency department. Patients dealing with minor injuries or illness should consider visiting PeaceHealth Urgent Care at 3400 Main in Vancouver, where wait times may be shorter with lower costs. 

What to Expect

Medical emergencies are not predictable. Our patients rarely expect to have a medical emergency. The following information may help ease the stress of your visit:

Emergency department staff assess patients as they arrive. Those who need the most immediate medical care are treated first.

Triage is a process during which a nurse checks and assesses patients according to their immediate healthcare needs. You will be asked for information, such as your name, address, medical, and medication history. It is helpful if you have a pre written list of all your medications and allergies. Regardless of ability to pay or insurance coverage, no one who comes to our emergency department seeking treatment is turned away.

Examination once you are placed in a treatment room is started by an emergency medical provider & team who will examine you. The provider may order tests such as x-ray, blood tests, and electrocardiogram (EKG). Your vital signs will be monitored. Nurses and other staff will care for you during your visit.

If you are very ill, you may have to stay in the hospital. If you do not have to stay, an emergency provider will talk to you about your plan of care. You may also get information about medications, work or activity restrictions, or symptoms that could require a return visit.

Why do I have to wait so long?
There are a variety of reasons why you may be required to wait for care and treatment. The emergency department does not schedule appointments, so it has no control over how many patients arrive at a given time. Remember too, all patients are assessed and the sickest are treated first. You may arrive at an especially busy time, and therefore experience longer wait times. There are many reasons a trip to the emergency department can take longer than a visit to the doctor’s office. Unlike a doctor’s office, where appointments are spread out, many emergency patients may arrive at once. Your emergency provider may request tests, medications, or visits with other providers. Unlike a doctor’s office, emergency department patients often must wait for the results of x-rays or tests before they are treated and discharged.

Your Medical Center Team

Medical Staff
An emergency provider will be in charge of all tests, medications, or consultations with other providers.

Nursing Staff
A registered nurse (RN) will coordinate and monitor your health status or condition. Other caregivers, under the direction of the RN, may assist with your care.

Professional Services Staff
Your emergency provider may request professional services from laboratory technicians, radiologists, respiratory therapists and others. These caregivers supply vital information and therapies for your care. Some of these services will be provided in the emergency department. For other services you will go to another part of the hospital.

Spiritual Care Services
Chaplains are available for spiritual, emotional and cultural support. Chaplains are available for patients and their families. They work with the staff to support you when you are in the Emergency Department. Please ask a nurse or emergency provider to contact Spiritual Care if you would like to speak with a chaplain.

Volunteers contribute many hours of service to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center and add to the services of the staff in many ways. Volunteers can answer many of your questions about the hospital and its services. Their blue jackets and name tags identify them.

About Your Visit

Do Not Eat or Drink
You are requested not to eat or drink anything without the emergency provider’s approval. Your treatment or condition may require blood tests, which may not be accurate if you have recently had anything to eat or drink.

Personal Belongings
You are asked not to keep personal belongings during your stay at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. If you lose something, please notify your nurse or a security officer immediately to report your loss. The hospital is not responsible for lost items. Please give all found items to a security officer.

Our visitation policy helps us provide excellent care to all patients seeking treatment in the Emergency Department and their families. We are working hard to accommodate your needs and wishes. In certain circumstances it may be necessary to limit visitors. Please respect and comply with the directions and requests of the Emergency Department staff. Your cooperation makes it easier to assist you. Visitors must not bring food into any Emergency Department area except for the lobby.

Violence to Staff
The Emergency Department has zero tolerance for violence, threats of violence, or abuse of caregivers. Any patient, family, or visitor that threatens violence or attacks a member of the caregiver team is subject to arrest.

Weapons are not allowed in the Emergency Department. Please ask a Security Officer to secure your weapon during your stay. Please remember it is best to leave weapons at home.

You are responsible for all charges for your care at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Usually, we will forward your bill directly to your insurance company. Please keep in mind that it is your responsibility to solve any billing problems with your insurance company. If you have questions about your benefits, please contact your health plan first.

Financial Counseling
We are committed to caring for your health needs, regardless of your ability to pay. If you are worried about your bill, we offer counseling to help you with a reasonable payment plan.

PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center
400 NE Mother Joseph Pl
Vancouver, WA 98664