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What to expect as a patient

Patients may arrive to the Emergency Department by ambulance or they may self-present. Some patients may be referred by their GP.

Step 1: Reception

  • All patients, on arrival to the Emergency Department are directed immediately to the reception area
  • A set of medical records is prepared and the patient will be provided with an identification bracelet. Any notes from previous Emergency Department attendances will also be accessed

Step 2:  Triage

  • Patients are then assessed by a triage nurse and given a priority rating – which will determine when they will be seen.
  • The patient may be asked to take a seat in the lounge area outside Triage or may be directed to one of the zones in the Emergency Department for immediate care.
  • The nurse will also assess whether any pain relief is needed. Some patients may be asked to remain fasting in case they need surgical intervention.
  • Patients who arrive by ambulance are taken to a receiving bay and allocated an appropriate triage category from there

Step 3:  Clinical treatment areas

Fast Track

For patients with all trauma and mechanical related musculoskeletal injuries, requiring urgent assessment and treatment including:

  • Wounds, local infections, bites and abscesses – which will be assessed, treated and appropriate follow up arranged.
  • All dislocated joints and significant lacerations
  • Patients with some joint reductions may be suitable for reduction under local anaesthetic whilst other patients may be moved to a dedicated monitoring bay for procedural sedation
  • Other patients with suspected clots, head injuries and other clinical presentations deemed appropriate by the Emergency Department consultant may also be seen in the Fast Track area

Fast Track opening hours are Mon to Fri: 08.00 – 22.00 and Sat to Sun: 11.00-19.00

Rapid Assessment and Treatment Area

For patients who are considered suitable to be managed in our Rapid Assessment and Treatment area

  • Many patients may be seen, treated and discharged if their problem can be easily addressed
  • Some patients may be asked to sit in the patient lounge area while awaiting the results of investigations (bloods/x-rays etc)
  • Other patients may require further assessment and treatment in one of our other clinical areas or as an inpatient

Clinical Decision Unit

For patients who present to the Emergency Department with specific conditions – and where the length of stay is likely to be between 6 and 24 hours in duration because they fall into one of the following three categories requiring either:

  • A period of observation
  • An investigation, the results of which will determine whether the patient is likely to be discharged
  • A short course of therapy to treat defined conditions so the patient can then be safely discharged

Chest Pain Evaluation Unit

For patients attending the Emergency Department with chest pain who require ongoing investigation and treatment.

  • The Chest Pain Evaluation Unit is a 24-hour ward adjacent to the Emergency Department where patients are cared for by the Emergency Department consultant and the team in the Clinical Decision Unit
  • Care is also provided by our cardiology advanced nurse practitioner with direct access to the cardiology team on call

Step 4:  Discharge or Admission

  • Some patients  – who do not require any treatment which is only available at St. Vincent’s University Hospital – may be admitted to St Michael’s Hospital in Dun Laoghaire or St Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown
  • The hospital’s priority is to get patients to an inpatient ward bed as soon as it is possible and safe to do so

Find out more about what to expect on arrival to the Emergency Department in our list of frequently asked questions. Or visit our Post Emergency Department Clinics if your treatment requires follow up on another day.  Find out what to expect as a visitor to the Emergency Department.