The trauma team is a multidisciplinary group of individuals drawn from the specialties of emergency medicine, intensive care, surgery, nursing, allied health, and support staff, who work together as a team to assess and manage the trauma patient. Their actions are coordinated by a team leader.
The primary aim of the team is to rapidly resuscitate and stabilize the patient, prioritize and determine the nature and extend of the injuries and prepare the patient for treatment.
Clearly allocated roles and responsibilities are crucial for successful team performance. Because the volume of patient admissions to an emergency department can not be controlled South Africa uses the triage scale for assessment for all patients reporting at its emergency departments.
The aim of the triage system is to assess the severity of the condition of the patients and assign treatment priorities according to clinical urgency to ensure that staff members can deliver time critical treatment for patients with life threatening conditions. These individuals are triaged either red or orange.
The South African triage scale uses a five-step approach to assess the patient:
The process of triage starts with a question to the patient/parent as to the reason for coming to the emergency department. As this question is being asked and answered the triage process has already commenced with the triage practitioner rapidly assessing the patient for any clinical sign indicating an emergency.
If emergency clinical signs are detected the patient is assigned as a P1 or red priority level and taken to the resuscitation area without delay.
If no emergency clinical signs are detected the patient is checked for any very urgent or urgent clinical signs.
In all instances, the patient’s vital signs are measured, a triage early warning score is calculated, key additional investigations are checked, and the triage priority is adjusted accordingly.
Emergency care at the Emergency department is provided by emergency doctors who are in private practice, in other words, they are not employed by the hospital. Non urgent cases should be seen by General Practitioners (GP), Family Physicians or at walk-in care facilities rather than in the emergency department. The inappropriate use of emergency department services is one of the most common problems leading to overcrowding in emergency departments.