Our Triage process follows international guidelines. Priority is given to patients based on the seriousness of the illnesses or injuries. The patient will be given either immediate medical attention or be asked to register at the Registration Counter and remain in the waiting area until called. A patient’s medical emergency is initially assessed at the Triage Counter, by measuring the vital signs and recording any complaints. All patients are categorized using the Emergency Severity Index (ESI) 4.0 adapted from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ). A brief description of the five categories or levels of triage for emergency patients is as follows:
PRIORITY LEVEL 1: LIFE THREATENING: Patients in this category require immediate attention with maximal utilization of resources to prevent loss of life, limb or eyesight.
PRIORITY LEVEL 2: CRITICAL: Patients in this category should be seen by a physician within 15 minutes because of high risk for rapid deterioration, loss of life, limb or eyesight if treatment or interventions are delayed.
PRIORITY LEVEL 3: URGENT: Patients who develop a sudden illness or injury within 24 to 48 hours. Symptoms and risk factors for serious disease do not indicate a likelihood of rapid deterioration in the near future. (Reassessment within 60 minutes).
PRIORITY LEVEL 4: NON URGENT: Patients with chronic complaints, medical maintenance, or medical conditions posing no threat to loss of life, limb or eyesight. (Reassessment within 120 minutes).
PRIORITY LEVEL 5: WALK IN: Patients in this category are stable and require no resources such as laboratory tests or x-rays. (Reassessment within 180 minutes).
The aim of triaging patients is to ensure that every patient coming to emergency services is getting the right care at the right place and at the right time.
All patients categorized as priority level 1, will be immediately taken to the resuscitation room. All patients categorized as priority level 2, will be taken to the critical area (front area) where they will be closely monitored. When a bed is unavailable in the critical area patients may be asked to wait and they are reassessed at triage after 15 minutes. When a bed is unavailable for patients categorized as priority level 3, they will be advised to wait in the waiting area and are reassessed every 60 minutes. During every reassessment at triage, the patient’s prioritization will be reviewed and based on objective findings, may either remain the same, be upgraded or downgraded and the patient will be managed accordingly. When beds are not available in the emergency, the triage staff or Coordinator will explain the waiting time and be available to answer any concerns raised by the patient and their family. When our emergency services are fully occupied, patients categorized as priority level 2 will be briefly assessed by the triage nurse and doctor, counselled and referred to another hospital to ensure that the patient can be appropriately treated in an acceptable time.