Free Consult-A-Nurse service lets you ask medical questions about health concerns over the phone
IDAHO FALLS — It’s no secret that fear of medical bills sometimes prevents people from seeking treatment, especially if they don’t know if they are sick enough to need it.
That’s a problem Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center hopes to help solve with their 24/7/365 Consult-A-Nurse phone service. The free consulting service has actually been in place for a while, but hospital spokeswoman Coleen Niemann says the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how it’s being used.
“There continues to be some reluctance to seek health care when it is needed out of fear of COVID-19,” Niemann told EastIdahoNews.com.
Niemann stressed EIRMC is a safe place to receive medical care, but hospital officials recognize some people still may have some reluctance. She hopes the phone service can bring some peace to people who want medical advice but are worried about getting sick during a visit to the hospital.
Specialty-trained registered nurses are available to give clinical guidance, help people understand symptoms, and provide education about treatment options over the phone. The service is available to anyone, whether they are a patient or not, by calling (208) 227-2778.
“RN’s follow triage protocols to advise callers and provide information on a range of health topics, including children’s health, cardiac services, diabetes care, men’s and women’s health, neurology/stroke, orthopedics, sleep disorders, spine care, among many others,” an EIRMC news release said.
The service is especially useful during hours when doctor’s offices are closed, Niemann said. Those that have a relationship with a doctor should contact them first. However, anyone with medical questions in the middle of the night or on weekends, for themselves or children, could use this resource to get advice on what to do next.
“It’s an important resource when your primary care physician isn’t available, or if you don’t already have a doctor,” Chief Nursing Officer Tami Frost said. “We need to change that paradigm. EIRMC is a safe place to receive care, and it’s critical that people understand that for the sake of their own health. For those who remain hesitant to seek care in person, this service at least gives them a lifeline and starting point to get the care they need.”