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Assessing the need and urgency for care in the emergency department

The nurse will call the client in to conduct an assessment of the need for and urgency of care, where the client’s health issue is evaluated and a treatment plan drawn up.

After registration, a nurse will assess the client’s need for care. To support the assessment of the need for an urgency of care, various measurements, such as fever, frequency of breathing, and heartbeat may be taken. With this information, the nurse can assess the need for and urgency of treatment. If the assessment of the need for care shows that the client does not, in fact, need treatment at the emergency department, they may be redirected to receive care elsewhere or instructed on how to manage their condition at home.

For clients who will remain to be treated at the emergency department, a bracelet with their personal information is put on to ensure correct identification. The nurse will also guide the client in issues related to the emergency department visit and brief them on what will happen next.

Assessment of the urgency of care

An urgency classification system is used to evaluate and describe the necessary timeframe for each emergency department client to receive treatment. There are various systems to assess urgency, often describing the various stages of urgency using letters or numbers.

It is necessary to have an urgency classification system to ensure patient safety. Never can every patient in an emergency department be treated to the fullest at once.

Updated 1.5.2021