October 27, 2020
You went to a hospital specifically on an Emergency Room Department to be treated because of a small cut on your arm and the doctor/nurse who is now approaching you suddenly left you to attend a patient who just came because of troubled breathing. And now you're thinking, I came here first, so why are these guys attending that patient who came after me?
Don't be upset, there is just something we called triaging. Btw, i work in a hospital as an emergency nurse.
So what is this triaging about?
Triage is the process of determing the priority of patients treatment based on the severity of their conditions. This rationalizes patients treatment efficiently when the resources are insufficient for all to be treated immediately.
Some third world countries has a 1:15000 - 1:30000 doctor per patient ratio
The term triage is from a French verb trier, meaning to separate, sort or select.
What are the purpose and benefits of Triage?
To expedite the delivery of time-critical for patients with life threatening conditions
To ensure that all people requiring emergency care are appropriately categorized according to their clinical condition
To improve patient flow and patient satisfaction
What is the role of a triage nurse?
To competently assess all incoming patients to properly place them in categories according to the Triage Early Warning Score (TEWS)
TEWS - a useful tool used to identify patients in emergency departments who are at risk of deterioration and who may require admission
Levels of Triage
The Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) has five levels:
Level 1: Resuscitation – Conditions that are threats to life or limb
Level 2: Emergent – Conditions that are a potential threat to life, limb or function
Level 3: Urgent – Serious conditions that require emergency intervention
Level 4: Less urgent – Conditions that relate to patient distress or potential complications that would benefit from intervention
Level 5: Non-urgent – Conditions that are non-urgent or that may be part of a chronic problem
I've seen a lot of people complaining about this system. So why are they complaining? It is because they don't know this system and they don't wanna learn about this triage system. All they want is to be seen immediately by the doctor/nurse.
Triage nurse has a great respinsibility and needed a lot of patience when handling patients. They should be firm on their decision and should not be afraid of what will the patient or the patient's relatives will say.
Proper dissemination of information about the triage system on an emergency department will lessen the misunderstandings between the patient or patient's relative and the healthcare workers.