SAINT JOHNSBURY - The Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) is finalizing a year long change that will speed up services to those in need of emergency care.
"Our main goal was to focus on the patient getting to their care quicker. So now, when you come to our emergency room, you would have to meet our access greeter, and then as soon as your name goes up, the nurses see it and then 5-10 minutes is our goal", explains Emergency Room Director Michael Moss.
These changes have been long in the making, after patients in the Emergency Care Department were not treated as quickly as the staff would have liked.
NVRH will be adopting the "triage" process of treating patients, initally used in the military to treat wounded soldiers. The triage process is a way to sort the people needing care by the severity of their injuries. Patients at NVRH will now be given a quick examination by a nurse, who will determine a number, one through five, to indicate how bad their injuries are, with five being the least urgent. Using this system, patients with smaller numbers are given priority, ensuring those who need the care the most are treated quickly.
Though speeding up care for emergency patients is Moss' goal, there are still obstacles that the department must be aware of. "We're a nine-bed emergency room, and sometimes there is a surge of patients, where we go far beyond nine, sometimes 15 or 16," Moss said.
One other benefit of utilizing the triage process is to help patients better understand their diagnosis. "Expect an overall better experience. One of the things we are working on is, when patients are leaving here, they have a good understanding of what was determined in their visit, and what the plan for follow up is," said Emergency Room Medical Director, Ryan Sexton.