General information

Answers to frequently asked questions about emergency departments.

Why are patients who behave in a disorderly fashion sometimes treated first?

Intoxicated and restless patients often cause disturbance and fear in other patients and visitors. The staff must ensure the safety of all patients. Sometimes it is best to handle their situation first so that they can be moved on from the public waiting area.

All emergency departments operate a zero-tolerance policy towards disorderly and abusive behaviour. Inappropriate behaviour and verbal and physical abuse are absolutely prohibited and may lead to criminal sanctions. Most emergency departments are staffed by a security guard to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and the staff.

Can I eat and drink if I want?

Before you eat and drink anything, check with a nurse if there is any reason why you shouldn’t. Many examination and procedures require fasting , so if you eat, your treatment may need to be postponed.

Can I use my mobile phone in the emergency department?

You can use your mobile phone as long as you follow the instructions given by the staff. Sometimes the staff may need to restrict your use of a phone depending on the area you are in or if you being monitored.

Can I take pictures in the emergency department?

Lobbies, waiting areas and cafés in a hospital are public spaces, where you can take pictures. However, be discreet and respect the privacy of others. Taking pictures of other patients or publishing images of other patients without their permission is prohibited.

Treatment rooms (e.g. doctors’ offices, examination rooms and patient rooms) are not public spaces and taking pictures in them may be restricted to protect patient privacy and patient safety.

The staff do not necessarily want to be photographed. Always ask for permission before taking pictures. Hospitals may have different policies but, as a rule, patients or visitors do not have permission to photograph the staff.

Don’t be offended if the staff decline to be photographed or don’t have the time to take pictures for you. They have the right to refuse to take pictures.

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Updated  8.6.2020