SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A Sioux Falls hospital is seeing too many non-emergency cases land in the ER.
There is a steady stream of patients in Sanford Health’s emergency room.
“Our emergency room is busier than it’s ever been. I’ve worked here for eight years and we’ve seen increasing volumes over the past couple of years,” Sanford Health Emergency Physician Dr. Abigail Polzin said.
Dr. Abigail Polzin is the Vice Chief of Emergency Medicine and says the bigger concern is that not everyone requires emergency care.
“If you’re having mild symptoms, not having severe chest pain, shortness of breath, not having major trauma, obvious broken bones, those types of things, those are usually able to be seen in an acute care setting,” Dr. Polzin said.
“Ask A Nurse is a great option and then messaging your primary care provider,” Sanford Health Vice President Medical Officer Dr. Mike Wilde said.
Dr. Mike Wilde encourages people to use technology to their advantage.
“Whether it’s via your smart device, your computer at home. If that’s not available, calling, but really working with your primary care provider,” Dr. Wilde said.
COVID-19 is also playing a role in the ER logjam.
“One of our big things is right now people are really interested in testing and coming to the emergency department, especially in groups of three or four family members wanting to be tested really clogs up the waiting room and creates a longer wait for other people who may have more severe illnesses,” Dr. Polzin said.
There are options outside the ER. Dr. Wilde has this final piece of advice for patients navigating care.
“Have your vaccinations, your boosters, great plan and then really just take care of yourself. Work with your primary care team, take the medications as appropriate, stay fit, stay active and just get yourself taken care of,” Dr. Wilde said.