Wait screens and request for category reassessment.

Initially we must ensure that people are properly categorised and advised of their category and that people see movement in categories. Television screens that indicate number of each category of patients and average time to deal with those categories should be shown so that patients have some idea of wait times to be seen. 

There also needs to be some method of informing patients of what category they have been assessed as, what constitutes that category and how they can get the category independently reviewed.

A year ago, my daughter went to an Emergency Department in another district and it transpired that she had a broken leg and two sprained ankles, however she was  given a Category 5 even though her pain scale was 8 to 9 and she couldn't walk without my assistance. Meanwhile we watched people with colds be seen first. After eight hours waiting and been told it could be at least two hours more, we went home and went to GP in morning having to pay gap while on Newstart. Ideally there should be a kiosk where people can enter their symptoms and get an indicative categorisation and wait time. Overhead screens should show changes to wait time related to changing ER population.

This might encourage those who come to ER unnecessarily to try other options e.g. home doctor service.

Why the contribution is important

People are being miscategorised based more on their personalities than their symptoms and in some cases the categorisation system seems to have broken down. There needs to be a system of review.

By being up front on waiting times, it may reduce demand on ER. There could also be a process of linking to home visit doctors who bulk bill, meaning people seen sooner and their needs addressed quicker.

by kevinconway on August 14, 2019 at 11:14AM

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  • Posted by Bowds22 August 16, 2019 at 06:00

    I understand the complexity of the triage system and where patients want the choice to make decisions but I do have concern if patients wish to argue the triage category determined by a qualified triage nurse. Triage is a very unique training and is certainly supported by the ED team however when it is busy and patients are demanding to be seen - the pressure placed up on triage nurses is high - particularly if a patient is wanting to question their triage category. We all wish to ensure patients are seen in an appropriate time process however it is difficult when there is not the room nor the availability of staff to review.
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