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Higher Demand for Emergency and Urgent Care Leads To Implementing Triage System

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Contact: Dan Moris

Prairie du Chien, WI – Patients who have sought care at Crossing Rivers Health’s Emergency or Urgent Care departments have most likely been taken directly to a room or experienced minimal wait times, especially compared to ERs in larger communities. With the local ER seeing an increase in patient volumes, this may be changing.

“When the number of patients requesting care exceeds the amount of beds we have in the ER or Urgent care, staff will start to implement what’s called a Triage system,” said Heidi Kirschbaum, ER Clinical Services Director. “This system helps us to sort out the patients who need to receive immediate care and those with less urgent needs, who can wait.”

The triage process involves a nurse taking the patient into a smaller room to talk about health concerns and check vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level, etc. Depending upon the urgency or seriousness of the patient’s condition, this may result in the patient returning to the waiting room, until a room and staffing are available.

Kirschbaum shared, “There may be patients that arrived prior to you or are arriving by ambulance that you most likely will not know about. That’s why we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work to efficiently and effectively prioritize and care for all of our patients’ needs.

Kirschbaum explained that there are many factors adding to the congestion in the Emergency Department, such as larger hospitals where critical patients are normally sent being full, an increase in patient acuity or sickness when they arrive to the ER, and the seasonal increase in respiratory and COVID-like illnesses.

While in the waiting room, it is important to follow these guidelines:

  • Remain distanced from others, at least six feet apart
  • Remain masked at all times
  • Do not eat or drink while in the waiting area
  • Let registration staff know if you are feeling worse in any way, need to speak to a nurse, or need to leave for any reason

In some cases, visitors may be asked to go to their car if the amount of people in the waiting room is too high.

Although these circumstances may not be ideal, Kirschbaum shared, “Above all else, we want you to know that Crossing Rivers Health ER and Urgent Care staff are here to provide the best care to all of our patients. That may just take us a little more time, so your understanding and patience is greatly appreciated.”