Your Emergency Care Visit: What to Expect

We strive to keep all patients and staff safe by limiting visitors to our Emergency Department (ED) and ensuring all patients are wearing masks and observing social distancing guidelines. Patients will be given masks and asked to sanitize their hands at the ED entrance.

Visitors and necessary caregivers: We are currently operating under a No Visitor Policy for the safety of patients and staff. Our visiting policy may change frequently depending on COVID-19 conditions. Please review our current visitor policy before you accompany a patient to our ED.


Triage is a life-saving system that ensures the most serious medical problems are treated first. Triage nurses ask about your medical problem and do a short exam. They also ask about your medical history, allergies, and current medications. 

We do not delay life-saving treatment. If a patient is critically ill, we may need to ask the required questions of the patient’s companion or ask the patient once they are stable and able to answer.

Patient being treated at an Urgent Visit

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How long will my wait time be?

Several factors determine wait times. These include:

  • How busy the department is at the time
  • How serious your condition is
  • How serious other patients’ conditions are

Ambulances frequently arrive at the bay in the back of our Emergency Department. If the medical needs of those patients are more urgent than those of the patients in the waiting room, then the ambulance patients will be seen first.


An emergency medicine provider gives you a thorough exam. They may order additional tests and procedures so you can get the best treatment for your problem. There may be a wait for lab tests and X-rays, and it takes time for us to process and review the results. We do our best to keep you informed on wait times.


Patients with complex conditions can be treated in special rooms that offer a connection to the TeleEmergency team at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC). With the simple push of a button, board-certified emergency medicine physicians and experienced emergency nurses can instantly join our team via a high-quality two-way video and monitoring system. This helps us treat patients experiencing complex life-threatening conditions like stroke fast and effectively, when every moment counts.

Next steps based on your condition


You may be discharged from the Emergency Department. We give you written instructions before you go home. It is very important that you understand and follow your discharge instructions, so please let us know if you do not understand any of the instructions or if you have any questions.

If you are given a prescription, there is a pharmacy located near the lobby of Cheshire's Main Entrance where you can pick up your medication during business hours. 

You may be asked to follow up with a specialist to make an appointment for care after you go home. The Emergency Department providers issue a referral for this follow-up appointment. You can call the number on your printed instructions or use myD-H through the computer or MyChart mobile app to schedule your appointments.

Admission to the hospital

You may need to be admitted to our hospital for further treatment. Some patients are admitted to the operating room, intensive care unit, or the appropriate medical-surgical floor for continued care. Cheshire has many specialists, all credentialed by Dartmouth-Hitchcock, ready to provide excellent care. 

View Cheshire’s visiting policy

In Cheshire’s Inpatient Acute Physical Rehabilitation unit, patients receive treatment from rehabilitation professionals like physical, occupational, recreational, and speech therapists. Inpatient rehabilitation helps people who have experienced major medical events like a stroke or spinal injury recover and regain the best function so they can live a full life.

How will I be billed for my visit to the Emergency Department?

Most insurance policies require a co-payment for use of emergency services. The charge you receive varies with the level of care provided. Lab tests, X-rays, medications, and other supplies generate additional charges if they are required. A separate bill may also come to you from your private physician, any consultants, and/or the radiologist if their services are necessary.

If you think you cannot pay for the emergency services you received, please tell the staff at registration so they can help you with financial assistance

Learn more about our billing and charges.