Patients who arrive on foot or by car will register at the main ED reception desk. At registration, make sure all details are correct-ensure you update any new details/information at registration. Please advise reception staff if you have any special requirements. You will then be asked to take a seat in the waiting room to be called by an experienced ED nurse for triage assessment.
Patients who come in by ambulance can be registered by a family member or friend. Sometimes patients who arrive by ambulance, if they are not too unwell, may be asked to wait in the waiting room to be assessed by a nurse.
The triage assessment determines the next step in the patient’s journey through the ED. Patients are not seen in the order that they have arrived to the ED, but based on the seriousness of their condition.
Triage is a nursing assessment that places the patient into a group determined by the seriousness and duration of their illness. Patients are seen according to their triage category, in other words how ill they are, and not on the order/mode of arrival. All patients are placed into either Zone 1 or Zone 2 ambulatory care.
Zone 1: Acute illnesses requiring close monitoring and possible admission
Zone 2: Patients who do not need close monitoring and are more likely to be discharged home.
Following triage you will be asked to take a seat in the waiting area. You will be waiting for the Doctor or the Advanced Nurse Practitioner to see you. Unfortunately, accurate waiting times are impossible to predict as it can vary from minute to minute as to how busy the department is.
On Monday-Fridays the ED operates a rapid assessment unit alongside triage called RATU. The goal of RATU is to get any necessary investigations or treatments started (such as x-rays or blood tests) so that they can happen while you are waiting to see the Doctor or Advanced Nurse Practitioner. It can take time for x-rays, blood tests and scans to happen as there may be others before you waiting for these tests. While awaiting these tests you may be asked to move from the cubicle to allow other patients to be assessed.
Over 70% of patients who come to the ED, are discharged home. If you are being discharged from the ED you may be given a follow up appointment. Tallaght Hospital does not have a dispensing pharmacy on site. A staff member will be able to direct you to a pharmacy if you are leaving out of hours as there are several late night pharmacies in the area.
For those patients who are not discharged from the ED, and who need to stay in hospital, you will be referred by the ED team to the appropriate specialist team, for example a medical or a surgical team. This too can add to your waiting time as these teams may be working on the wards, in the out-patients department or theatre.
Should you need to be admitted to the hospital, bed management will be informed and a suitable bed in the hospital will be accessed for you. Beds are not available on demand, but every effort is made to facilitate you’re transfer to a ward as soon as possible. ED staff have no access to Ward beds and are therefore dependent on communications from bed management to allocate patients.