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New process in place at St. Anthony emergency room

Some of the members of the emergency room staff that helped create and participate in the new emergency room procedures at Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital. Left to right are: paramedic Todd Fowler, registered nurses Ryan Patey and Nicole Burke, emergency room physician Dr. Alexis Caro-Guzman and paramedic Jesse Pynn.
Some of the members of the emergency room staff that helped create and participate in the new emergency room procedures at Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital. Left to right are: paramedic Todd Fowler, registered nurses Ryan Patey and Nicole Burke, emergency room physician Dr. Alexis Caro-Guzman and paramedic Jesse Pynn.

The emergency department at Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital has adopted a new system, which should mean shorter waits for patients visiting the emergency department.

It's part of a province-wide initiative to reduce wait times.

All hospitals in the Labrador-Grenfell Health region will make the changes; St. Anthony is the first to do so.

Up until last week patients would enter through the Outpatients’ entrance and go to a sign-in desk used for both emergency and outpatient registration.

There they would take a number and wait to be registered, then wait again to be triaged.

They could wait hours before seeing a doctor, sometimes for something that could be taken care of in a few minutes.

As of Friday, this is no longer the procedure.

Patients visiting the emergency will now see a registered nurse, who will register the patient and lead them right to triage.

Registered nurses Ryan Patey and Nicole Burke, paramedics Jesse Pynn and Todd Fowler and emergency department physician Dr. Alexis Caro-Guzman gave the Northern Pen a tour of the department on Friday and a run down of all the changes.

It's part of a province-wide initiative to reduce wait times.

All hospitals in the Labrador-Grenfell Health region will make the changes; St. Anthony is the first to do so.

Up until last week patients would enter through the Outpatients’ entrance and go to a sign-in desk used for both emergency and outpatient registration.

There they would take a number and wait to be registered, then wait again to be triaged.

They could wait hours before seeing a doctor, sometimes for something that could be taken care of in a few minutes.

As of Friday, this is no longer the procedure.

Patients visiting the emergency will now see a registered nurse, who will register the patient and lead them right to triage.

Registered nurses Ryan Patey and Nicole Burke, paramedics Jesse Pynn and Todd Fowler and emergency department physician Dr. Alexis Caro-Guzman gave the Northern Pen a tour of the department on Friday and a run down of all the changes.

Registered nurse Samantha Hillier and emergency room physician Dr. Alexis Caro-Guzman look at a chart at the nurse’s desk in the new triage area.

To test the new system, they did a week-long trial to iron out any kinks.

In the triage room, behind the registration window, a nurse or doctor assesses the patient’s illness or injury; and sent for x-ray or blood tests, if necessary.

“We will immediately assess you,” said Caro-Guzman. “We will try and treat you there immediately, and see whether you need a lab, or x-ray or just a prescription.

There are two assessment areas.

Fowler said the nurse and doctor work in close proximity in those areas. This will allow for quicker access to things like prescriptions that may need a doctor’s approval.

If the doctor is with another patient, a nurse can order lab or x-rays for the patient.

Once the results are back, the patient will then see the doctor.

This system saves a patient having to wait for a doctor to order the tests.

It’s still possible a patient will need to be seen in a procedure room or an assessment room.

More serious cases will now be attended to in a space across the hall from the emergency triage area, much closer than previously. The nursing office will also be located there; eventually it will be the nursing station.

The medicine room is also now separated and closed off from other areas, so a nurse can mix medication without being distracted.

This new directive is expected to help decrease the wait time dramatically, the group agreed.

“First test patient who was in this morning?” said Patey. “In and out, from door to door, was 16 minutes.”

It may take some time to have things running like clockwork but the staff, being a part of the decision-making process, is open to the change.

“We’re trying to get everything down to a flow now,” said Fowler.

So next time you head to the Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital emergency department, look for the sign on the wall inside the door that says, “Emergency registration” with an arrow pointing left. There will be someone there to greet you and help you register.

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