Mediclinic understands that a visit to our Emergency Centre may be an emotional experience, as you or a loved one requires urgent medical care. To ensure that each patient receives the most appropriate care at the most appropriate time, Mediclinic applies strict triage criteria to assess and prioritise care for those in the Emergency Centre.

What is Triage?

Triage is a clinically proven and internationally recognised method of /sorting medical cases according to how serious they are to determine who needs to be seen first.

What happens when I present for care at an Emergency Centre?

When you enter an Emergency Centre and your personal information has been recorded, an experienced nurse will be assigned to assess you to determine the severity of your condition. You will be asked a few questions and the nurse will take a few observations. During the triage process, a nurse will enquire about your reason for visiting, and will assess your vital signs.  It might also be necessary to perform a few other tests in order to get to your appropriate triage colour. You will then be handed over to the registered nurse or doctor who is best equipped to deal with your specific case.

What does my triage colour designation mean?

According to the colour designation (red, orange, yellow or green) you will be prioritised for care. This means that the resources available in the unit will prioritise certain patients with life threatening conditions (e.g. heart attack, stroke or severe injury) ahead of a patient who may have a minor laceration or other less severe injury.

Red = emergency: the patient is in imminent danger of dying or disability and needs to be seen immediately.
Orange = very urgent: the patient is in a serious condition but can wait a few minutes longer.
Yellow = urgent; the patient is ill but can wait longer.
Green = less urgent/routine: the patient has a minor condition and is rated stable at the time of triage.

What are examples of red (severe emergencies) triage?

Life-threatening emergencies
• Cardiac arrest
• Patient not breathing
• Current seizures
• Burns to the face or inhalation burns
• Hypoglycaemia

Emergencies/very urgent

• Level of consciousness reduced
• Sudden shortness of breath
• Chest pain
• Stabbed neck
• Dislocation of a large joint
• Pregnancy and abdominal trauma
• Vomiting fresh blood

Traditionally this breakdown is for adults, emergency signs for paediatric patients are more detailed. Small babies, younger than two months, are also regarded as very urgent, irrespective of their presenting problem.  We use different triage tools for adults and children – each have their own unique set of parameters.

Why will some patients who arrive after me get care before me, if there condition does not appear to be urgent?

People differ greatly in how they present.  Some people are very overt with their symptoms while other people are more covert.  For this very reason, all patients must go through the same, standardised triage process in order to do a accurate assessment of the urgency of their condition/presenting complaint.

If I am one of only a few patients in the waiting room, why am I not being attended to?

Patients with life threatening conditions are taken to a private care setting away from the public eye, where they may be receiving care. Resources may be focused on these patients, ahead of anyone assessed as yellow or green. Our staff will endeavour to keep you updated and informed while you are waiting

Why might there be long queues in the Emergency Centre?

As accidents and critical injuries are unexpected, we cannot always predict when our Emergency Centre may be full. We do understand that there are periods during the day (especially after hours) when other care options (such as your GP) are not available, and we take measures to look after our patients during these peak periods.

How can I help the triage nurse make a decision on my care?

-  Provide an accurate reflection of your current condition such as pain levels, direct history before the injury, bring a list of medication you are currently taking as well as medical history that may be relevant to your condition.

-  Ask the triage nurse making the triage ranking any questions you may have regarding potential waiting times based on the volume of patients in the unit. This will provide a realistic potential waiting time for care.

If I have been assessed and require admission to hospital, why is there a delay?

In some cases, particular units in the hospital (such as ICU or paediatric unit) may have a high volume of patients. It may require further arrangements by the hospital to create capacity or (where necessary) arrange a transfer to another facility to receive the correct level of care for your condition.

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