Visits TO an emergency room are confusing and nerve-racking events that one emergency room doctor describes as "usually the worst day of a person's life."
That makes for a poor setting for good communication. In a study published last week in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, researchers found that 78% of patients do not fully understand the care and discharge instructions they receive in the ER. Moreover, most people are unaware they don't understand what the doctor has said. One woman interviewed by the researchers immediately after her discharge could not name her condition (pelvic inflammatory disease) and misunderstood most of the instructions for home and follow-up care.