Emergency Room Patient Volume

We’re currently experiencing an increase in patient volumes in our ERs. See what to expect if you visit our ER, how to find the right level of care and other resources to help keep your family healthy.

What to expect at the ER during high volume periods

We understand needing emergency care can be stressful. Here’s what you can expect during your visit:

  • Upon arrival: A team member will quickly assess the patient to determine if immediate or life-saving care is necessary.
  • Check-in: If immediate, life-saving care is not necessary, you’ll complete the registration process.
  • Triage: A nurse will evaluate the patient’s condition. You will then be assigned to a waiting room or an exam room, depending on availability.
  • Evaluation and treatment: You’ll see a provider and receive the care you need.

Visitor restrictions

When it’s busy in our ER, we may limit visitors to one adult per patient in the waiting room. This is to help reduce overcrowding.

ER wait times

You may experience longer than usual wait times in the ER during periods of high patient volumes. The nature of emergency situations makes it difficult to estimate how long we’ll need to spend with each patient. While we see everyone as quickly as possible, we do treat the most critically ill patients first.

Finding the right level of care

Selecting the right level of care for your child can allow them to be treated as quickly as possible. Depending on their condition, you may need to take your child to an emergency room, or you may be able to seek care elsewhere. See an ER vs. urgent care guide or view common symptoms below.

  • When to visit the ER

    Emergency rooms are designed to provide fast, life-saving care. While your child's condition could be urgent in nature, it may not always meet the medical criteria for an emergency room visit. Here are signs you should go immediately to the ER or call 911:

    • Your child has a life-threatening illness or injury (see list below)
    • Your child's symptoms come on suddenly and fast
    • You think your child may need rapid or advanced treatment, like surgery

    Here are some of the top reasons to take a child to the ER or call 911:

    • Trouble breathing, including asthma that is not improving with home treatments
    • Any change in behavior following loss of consciousness, especially after a head injury
    • Bleeding you can't stop
    • Blue or purple skin or lips
    • Burns or smoke inhalation
    • Choking
    • Facial or dental injuries
    • Seizures (losing consciousness, muscle spasms, drooling or foaming at mouth, falling)
    • Any impact injuries, such as from a car or bicycle accident, or falls from heights

    Children's Health has the only pediatric Level I ER/Trauma Program in North Texas and all doctors are specially trained in treating children. Learn more about our ER locations.

  • When to visit urgent care

    It is usually best to take your child to an urgent care center if:

    • Your child has a non-life-threatening condition (see the list below)
    • Your child's symptoms are gradual, not sudden
    • Your child's primary care physician is not available, such as at night or on the weekend

    Here are some common reasons to take your child to urgent care:

    • Allergies
    • Common colds
    • Coughs
    • Dehydration
    • Ear, nose and throat infections
    • Fevers
    • Flu-like symptoms
    • Minor burns
    • Arm or leg injuries
    • Rashes
    • Diarrhea
    • Skin infections

    Before you take your child to an urgent care location, check to make sure they see children of all ages. Children's Health PM Urgent Care offers care 365 days a year for non-life-threatening conditions in newborn babies through college-age patients.

    Many locations are open until midnight daily for your convenience. See office locations and hours.

  • When to use virtual visit

    With the use of video technology, your child may be able to be treated by a medical provider right in the comfort of your own home. Virtual visits, or video visits conducted via smartphones, tablets or computers, are an easily accessible option when you need quick medical care for your child.

    Common health conditions in children that can be treated using virtual visits include:

    • Allergies
    • Common colds
    • Ear, nose and throat infections
    • Flu-like symptoms
    • Mild burns
    • Minor cuts
    • Rashes
    • Sinusitis
    • Skin infections

    Learn more about Virtual Visit, brought to you by Children's Health Virtual Care, including how it works and frequently asked questions.

Options for non-emergent care

If your child’s condition is not an emergency, you may be able to seek care at one of these convenient options:

  • Children’s Health PM Urgent Care: Open 365 days a year to treat non-life-threatening common conditions in newborn through college-age patients. Many locations are open until midnight daily for your convenience.
  • Virtual Visit: From illnesses to injuries to mental health, you and your family can get treated in the comfort of your home or virtually anywhere you go – right from your mobile device.
  • Primary Care: As your child’s medical home, your primary care provider can offer the best guidance for your child’s health care needs when they are both sick and well.

Additional resources