These videos were produced before the COVID-19 pandemic and may not reflect current practices and policies.
What to expect
A registered nurse at the screening desk will greet you upon entering the emergency department (ED) lobby and learn the reason for the visit. If there’s a wait, you will be called to the screening desk in the order of your arrival – unless your child’s condition requires immediate attention.
A CHOC employee will obtain your child’s registration information. Basic information is confirmed upon arrival at the emergency department (ED) and more detailed information, including your child’s insurance carrier and primary doctor, are collected before leaving the ED.
You and your child will be called into a triage suite, where a nurse will ask questions, collect vital information such as temperature, pulse, and weight, and perform a basic exam. The nurse will evaluate your child’s condition to help determine the urgency of the situation and what type of care is needed. In most cases, children are seen by a triage nurse in the order that they have arrived; however, those with serious injuries or illnesses may go ahead of other patients. This is why you might notice some families being called first even if they arrived after you. If a treatment area or exam room is available upon your arrival, you may bypass the triage process entirely.
If all treatment rooms are full following triage, you will wait in the lobby. There is an indoor waiting area and an outdoor waiting area. While there, it is important that your child not eat or drink. It is also important to tell the screening nurse if your child’s condition changes or if your child needs a scheduled medication. If you must leave the emergency department before treatment, notify an employee.
This is where your child will receive treatment. The emergency department (ED) has several types of treatment areas that are each set up to provide a specific type of care. You might notice another family called ahead of you from the lobby should a space related to that child’s needs become available.
Once inside, you will be given a hospital gown for your child. Please undress your child and place them in the gown as quickly as possible to avoid a delay in the exam. If you bypassed the triage process, your child will undergo a similar exam here before seeing an ED physician.
The doctor might order tests and perform treatments, which will all be carefully explained to you. The physician will explain the results of all the tests and provide a plan for follow-up care, and, if necessary, hospital admission.
Your child will be discharged when a physician approves it is safe to do so. Be sure to have a clear understanding of any instructions from the physician before leaving the hospital.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I park when coming to the emergency department?
Park in the main hospital garage, which is accessible from Pepper Street or from Providence Avenue. Valet parking is also available at the main hospital driveway, accessible off of Pepper Street. Current parking rates are posted near the garage, as are valet rates. An emergency department validation stamp will reduce the valet cost.
How long will my visit take?
At this time, the emergency department (ED) is experiencing large numbers of children needing emergent medical care. While the ED is designed for fast triage, quick diagnosis and speedy treatment to streamline each visit, it is difficult to estimate how long a visit will take. Many things factor into the length of a visit, including the type and severity of the child’s ailment, as well as the other patients visiting the ED that day.
Patients are generally seen in the order of their arrival, but children with serious illnesses or injuries may be seen first. In this case, you might notice patients who arrived after you being called ahead of you. Also, the ED physician who is treating your child might be interrupted to respond to a sudden, critical emergency, such as a trauma injury.
Please remain patient and calm during your visit. Know that the comfort of you and your child is a top concern for all ED staff, and they are working hard to provide high-quality, efficient care to all patients they are privileged to serve.
Can I stay with my child?
Yes. There’s no need to worry about being away from your child at CHOC. You may stay with your child at all times while in the emergency department (ED) and help make decisions regarding your child’s care and treatment along the way.
What does triage mean?
“Triage” is when a nurse evaluates your child’s condition to determine what type of care they will need – and how quickly. Triage occurs after screening and initial registration.
If there are rooms open, your child will be immediately taken to an exam room. If all rooms are full, the emergency department has triage rooms, where a nurse will ask questions, collect vital information such as temperature, pulse and weight, and perform a basic exam.
How can I get additional support?
Patient advocates are available to support you Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and on Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 714-509-3200.
Volunteers are also available to help with comfort items. Additionally, child life specialists are available to help ease fears during treatment.
CHOC has many amenities available, but please speak with an ED staff member if you decide to leave the lobby area.
Places to eat
CHOC North Cafeteria
Located on the first floor of CHOC North tower
Breakfast 6:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Lunch 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Dinner 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Located on the second floor of the Bill Holmes Tower
Monday – Friday
Breakfast: 6:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Lunch: 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Dinner and late-night service: 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
CHOC Coffee Kiosk
Located on the second floor of the Bill Holmes Tower
Features Starbucks coffee and a variety of pastries
Monday – Friday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Closed 5:30 to 6 p.m.).
Saturday and Sunday, 6:30 a.m. to noon. (Closed 10 to 10:30 a.m.)
Vending machines are available on the first floor, near the CHOC North Cafeteria.
Security/Lost & Found
The hospital security staff can assist you in many ways, ranging from helping with car trouble to escorting you to your car after dark. Members of the security staff patrol the hospital and parking structures 24 hours a day. Security can help you locate missing items in our “Lost and Found.” To reach security, call 714-509-3900.
Located on the second floor of the Bill Holmes Tower, this beautifully designed space is a quiet and sacred place designed to accommodate people of all faith traditions.
The CHOC Gift Shop is located on the second floor of the Bill Holmes Tower and offers a wide variety of merchandise for our patients, visitors, and staff.
An automatic teller machine is available on the first floor, near the cafeteria.