Thursday, 2 January 2014

Does triage really work?

Lin Perry, Editor

Emergency departments are hospitals' ‘shop windows’ and first point of contact. How patients are received and managed here influences patients' outcomes and the anxiety and distress of all attendees: patients, families and friends. Long waiting times, ineffective communication, poor coordination and triage errors are frequent complaints. In a new article, now available on Early View, Hitchcock et al. take a close look at the triage process, observing and questioning how it really works. They depict a patient flow system at the mercy of arrival overload, hospital and emergency department overcrowding and access block. Inter-professional teamwork, good communication and skilled clinicians make the difference between good and poor outcomes; education and training for preparation and updating of triage staff, often inadequate, are essential to service quality.

Hitchcock M , Gillespie B, Crilly J, Chaboyer W (2013) Triage: an investigation of the process and potential vulnerabilities Journal of Advanced Nursing doi: 10.1111/jan.12304

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