HSE issues some VERY important advice for those attending Emergency Departments this Christmas

19th Dec 17 | News

The HSE have issued a note of advice for patients attending Emergency Departments this winter as they expect the number of people will be very high.

As flu-like illness and other respiratory infections are very common at this time of year, these type of viruses can have greater impact on older people and those with compromised immune systems.

The HSE explained:

"As we prioritise treatment and care for the sickest patients and those with life threatening illnesses, it means that patients with less serious illnesses and conditions may need to wait longer for their treatment.

That is why we are asking people to think about all of their care and treatment options so we can keep our ED services for the patients who need them most.

For example, many patients with limb injuries can go to an Injury Unit and others with illnesses needing less urgent treatment can be seen and treated by their GP or referred by their GP to an Assessment Unit the following day.

On the other hand, if you are seriously injured or ill or are worried that your life is at risk, you can be assured that our EDs are open 24/7, 365 days of the year and will assess and treat you as a priority."

If you or a family member or friend needs to go to the ED for treatment there are some things you can do to help us to help take care of you in the ED:

  • Remember to bring your GPs name and address along with any referral letter they may have given you for the ED.
  • It is particularly important that you bring any medications you are taking, as well as a list of any allergies or current medical conditions you might have, as this will help the doctors and nurses to better assess your condition and the treatment you have had to date. It may also shorten your waiting time as staff will know the medications you are taking and will not need to wait to hear back from your GP or pharmacist. Obviously, you may also need to take your medication while you are in the hospital.
  • Bring any hearing aids and glasses you need and if you have difficulties speaking or with language, please bring someone with you who can help us communicate with you. We can arrange an interpreter if needs be but this will take time to arrange.
  • Keeping our hands clean reduces the spread of infection. So by keeping your hands clean when you come to or are in the ED, you can help protect us all from infection. Infection control is really important throughout the whole hospital and, unfortunately, infection outbreaks mean greater risks to our patients, especially those more vulnerable to infection. It may also mean that we have to close hospital wards and beds until they are thoroughly deep cleaned to stop the spread of infection. This can take a lot of time depending on the type of bacteria and unfortunately reduces the number of beds available for patients coming in for care. This in turn means longer waiting times before patients can be admitted to hospital.
  • About 15 out of 20 people attending the ED go home after having tests or treatment in the ED. Part of our job is to make sure we answer your questions and give you clear information while you are in our care. Before you leave, please ask yourself if you understand your condition and the treatment you have been given, whether you know the next steps or know what to look out for. If you have a follow up appointment, do you know the details?