Hosptial waiting rooms

Jazz 12 October 2012 30

At a party recently i was discussing the subject of the wait time in hospital waiting rooms with an off duty paramedic. He made an interesting comment that whilst most visitors get exceedingly frustrated at hospital wait times, patients in the waiting room are under constant medical observation.

At the time I thought it a far fetched claim and It seems that i’m not alone in my assumption with this article on ABC describing a 33 hour wait for a terminally ill patient, an experience also shared by others.

If our hospital emergency waiting rooms are indeed an observation room rather than a waiting room perhaps it might be prudent for our incoming government whomever they may be to name it as such? Of course this might require a duty of care rather than the current ‘let me know if you feel unwell’ approach.

Your thoughts?


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30 Responses to Hosptial waiting rooms
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Watson Watson 11:36 am 17 Oct 12

If it is something a GP could diagnose and give a prescription for, you will get to see a doctor at CALMS way quicker than get seen at emergency. And you can just wait for your appointment at home. I never waited more than 2 hours for an appointment there. And with a sick baby I got in straight away.

The GPs are hit and miss, as everywhere else.

I didn’t know about them doing house visits after hours! Will definitely bear that in mind if we ever need urgent medical assistance in the middle of the night.

Genie Genie 11:35 am 17 Oct 12

Oh and as a side note about waiting times for my stay

I was in the waiting room for about 3-4 hours

I was in a bed in the emergency room for about 6 hours

In the CDU for about 4-5 hours waiting for a bed then put on the surgery ward for the next 2 days.

Genie Genie 11:29 am 17 Oct 12

In all my years of presenting to Calvary ED both as a possible patient and accompanying someone I have NEVER seen someone come out and monitor people waiting.

My most recent visit in March 2011 was due to a nasty reaction to medication I had taken. I waited approx 4 hours to see a doctor and wasn’t checked on once. During my 3 day stay at Calvary I honestly have nothing nice to say about the whole process. Monitoring patients. HA ! Yeah that happens…

My bed in emergency was located next to the nurses desk but was ignored for 30mins of constantly pushing the nurse button and trying to call out for attention. It wasn’t until my mother returned to check on me that someone finally came to check on me and realised why I was crying out in pain. (The drugs they administered via IV were burning me)

Actually the only time I was even monitored and checked on was late at night when I finally got to sleep. Getting woken up every 45 mins so they could take my blood pressure.

CanberraChristina CanberraChristina 11:29 am 17 Oct 12

I’d be interested to hear what kind of illnesses and waiting times those who are dissatisfied with the ED have experienced. Its not a first come first served system, and I imagine if you are waiting for 8+ hours its because you’ve been triaged as a very low priority and probably shouldn’t be in the ED in the first place.

All of my trips to the emergency room have met expectations, and where a long wait was involved it was reasonable in context. The care eventually received was excellent and thorough, and the time waiting was directly proportionate to the issue presented to the triage nurse.

I was seen immediately on two occasions presenting with breathing difficulties (turned out to be a broken rib) and severe spinal pain (torn spinal ligaments). A friend was assessed and moved from the waiting room pretty quickly but waited 5-6 hours for internal and external stitching on a large wound on her arm, which seemed fair given that it was not life threatening (though pretty dramatic and painful). Hubby had a longer than reasonable wait one Christmas Eve in the ED, but that was my fault for letting him talk to the triage nurse alone. He didn’t understand that it wasn’t first come first serve and was altogether too manly and downplayed his injury. As soon as I realised I went and spoke with the triage nurse and he was seen almost immediately and he was in surgery within two hours, under a local and happily discharged just in time for Christmas!

NoImRight NoImRight 10:52 am 17 Oct 12

Weve been through this several times recently with varying degrees of “urgent” Didnt see or experience a great deal of this supervision but we were repeatedly asked who we were and also asked if we were a bunch of other people so possibly it was an attempt to keep track of the bodies on trollies littering the hallways.

aceofspades aceofspades 10:45 am 17 Oct 12

After being accused of bashing the patient, waiting hours and generally being treated like absolute crap at TCH ED I don’t even bother anymore. I just go directly to Queanbeyan for fast friendly service.

Chop71 Chop71 10:44 am 17 Oct 12

stick figures

bundah bundah 10:38 am 17 Oct 12

Thumper said :

We have the best hospitals in the world.

Katy Gallagher said said so.

And she has the figures to back it up.

Oh by the way did you hear Kate Jackson will be counting the votes this Saturday?

miz miz 9:54 am 17 Oct 12

Thumper, GOLD!

Thumper Thumper 9:27 am 17 Oct 12

We have the best hospitals in the world.

Katy Gallagher said said so.

And she has the figures to back it up.

Chop71 Chop71 9:23 am 17 Oct 12

Chop71 said :

Canberra have wonderful hospitals

http://www.myhospitals.gov.au/hospital/the-canberra-hospital/services/elective-surgery/ear-nose-throat-surgery

…Canberra “has” wonderful hospitals

kakosi kakosi 11:26 pm 16 Oct 12

CanberraMum said :

I’m curious about the ‘after-hours locum’ just around the corner? Was in the Emergency Waitroom with young child recently, for six hrs – Nurses did triage very well, and diagnosed, at which case I stopped panicking and would have happily paid to see an available doctor…..as had to wait for Doctor to provide medication…when I asked the desk, they advised all were closed after 11pm…

They close the after hours rooms at that time but the Locum service operates from 6pm to 8am every day and they will actually visit your home after the rooms close to see a sick patient (a home visit costs more – $120 last time I used this for myself at 3am one morning). If you visit the rooms at each hospital it’s $70 a visit (for non-concession holders). It’s another option if you have something serious but aren’t in an immediate life-threatening situation.

CanberraMum CanberraMum 10:31 pm 16 Oct 12

I’m curious about the ‘after-hours locum’ just around the corner? Was in the Emergency Waitroom with young child recently, for six hrs – Nurses did triage very well, and diagnosed, at which case I stopped panicking and would have happily paid to see an available doctor…..as had to wait for Doctor to provide medication…when I asked the desk, they advised all were closed after 11pm…

ScienceRules ScienceRules 8:40 pm 13 Oct 12

knuckles said :

kakosi said :

Alternatively, if you have an emergency never drive yourself or someone else in, call an ambulance as they tend to take patients straight through into the ward rather than drop you off in the waiting room – having done the triage when they pick the patient up.

This is not correct. Ambulance staff will take timewasters (e.g. non-emergency patients) through the ambulance entry and happily tell the triage nurse that their patient is suitable for the waiting room.

It’s not really that hard. There is a large sign out the front that states EMERGENCY. If your condition is not an emergency you can expect to wait in the waiting area with minimal supervision. If you are not happy with this arrangement, take some responsibility for yourself and see your GP or attend a medical clinic.
Also, coughs, colds, diarrhoea, runny noses and hangovers are not emergencies. They may make you feel like crap, but you will not die from them.

+1000

The real reason to call an ambulance is if you need treatment urgently. They are qualified emergency medicine practitioners and will start treating you in your home. This would mean a thorough assessment, oxygen if needed, intravenous drugs if called for etc. Basically ambos provide most of the treatments you find in the emergency ward (except x-rays/scans and blood tests for obvious reasons).

Also, if it really is a medical emergency, don’t put your relative in the car and drive like an idiot to the hospital. You’ll end up causing more problems and only delay treatment for them. Not to mention the risk to yourself, your patient and the rest of the road users.

Of course, if you call an ambulance for something dickish like a hangover or ingrown toenail, expect to be ridiculed, put in the waiting room for a couple of days and receive a bill for something northwards of $800.

🙂

Girt_Hindrance Girt_Hindrance 8:30 pm 13 Oct 12

“I strongly advise people never to go to Casualty alone if you can possibly help it.”
Damn good advice.
I certainly don’t envy the staff making the prioritisation decisions and it can be very frustrating while waiting for loved ones to be entered into the ward.
Through my experience, I’ve discovered that cuts to the face requiring stitches are further up the ladder than I would have thought. I arrived after a stack and was called in before the Gent in his butchers outfit, clutching a claret soaked towel around his forearm…

Flossie Flossie 7:22 pm 13 Oct 12

We took 12 year old junior Flossie to the Calvary ED with a potentially serious post bicycle crash injury a fortnight ago. When describing events and presentation the Triage nurses their eyes widened with concern at the implications. Junior was made a category 2 and we were sent straight to the resuscitation room for immediate assessment.
Doctors were great and respectful and caring, nursing staff had essentially one on one support for the wee bloke. The injury was problematic enough the registrar called the consultant who in turn called the specialist surgical team. Who then also called the paediatric surgery team for assessment and advice. We were ultimately discharged with a paediatric surgery outpatients review booked at TCH for five days time.
Woke up next day to find junior’s presentation had worsened. Called Calvary who advised speaking to TCH. called TCH who advised immediate presentation to ED. So we went. Place was chockers. Spoke to triage, they were great. We were told we would have to wait a bit but they would get to us ASAP. In the forty five minutes or so it took to leave the waiting room and be attended to by a doctor we watched to nurses managing triage and a third nurse doing the rounds of the waiting room taking and recording observations for a number of patients.

I would definitely describe that as monitoring patients. I have had problems with long waits before today,and I am not saying that things are perfect, but the ED system isn’t completely broken.

(junior was fine in the end, hurrah! No surgery!)

knuckles knuckles 6:33 pm 13 Oct 12

kakosi said :

Alternatively, if you have an emergency never drive yourself or someone else in, call an ambulance as they tend to take patients straight through into the ward rather than drop you off in the waiting room – having done the triage when they pick the patient up.

This is not correct. Ambulance staff will take timewasters (e.g. non-emergency patients) through the ambulance entry and happily tell the triage nurse that their patient is suitable for the waiting room.

It’s not really that hard. There is a large sign out the front that states EMERGENCY. If your condition is not an emergency you can expect to wait in the waiting area with minimal supervision. If you are not happy with this arrangement, take some responsibility for yourself and see your GP or attend a medical clinic.
Also, coughs, colds, diarrhoea, runny noses and hangovers are not emergencies. They may make you feel like crap, but you will not die from them.

schmeah schmeah 1:30 pm 13 Oct 12

Hellno said :

if you anticipate a 5 hour wait and decide to go home for dinner and return later for example).

Please, please don’t tell me people actually register their illness at ED, then go home and get dinner and return to get treated. Honestly, if you’re that functional; driving, organising and eating – you should NOT be at ED .. make an appointment to see your GP for heavens sake.

kakosi kakosi 12:38 pm 13 Oct 12

It is true that after initial “triage” most patients in the waiting room won’t see a nurse come out again to check on them unless they are considered to be at higher risk.

A tip for not waiting too long is (if you can) get a doctor to refer the patient to the emergency ward. A call from a doctor to say you’re coming gets you into the ward quicker.

Alternatively, if you have an emergency never drive yourself or someone else in, call an ambulance as they tend to take patients straight through into the ward rather than drop you off in the waiting room – having done the triage when they pick the patient up.

Last tip: if you want to drive in, call both hospitals and ask them which emergency ward is least busy then go to the one that has less of a waiting time.

None of these tips will help you get treated quickly if a) a car accident has occurred and they are trying to cope with one or two serious injuries b) a full ward c) a few druggies are in the ward making a fuss and keeping staff busy.

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