The emergency room changes: 5 codes

The emergency room changes: 5 codes

Once the classic colors have been filed, the five new codes arrive in the emergency room. From now on, each patient will have an estimate of the maximum waiting time before the visit.

emergency room

New rules for first aid

To everyone, sooner or later, it has happened. A sprained ankle, or an insect bite that swells a little too much and makes us fear an allergic attack , and here we are in the waiting room of the emergency room ; aware of having to spend half a day there, but also of having no other choice , especially at night or on holidays.

While for most of us this is a nuisance that happens very infrequently, on a large scale it becomes a worrying phenomenon that clogs up our healthcare facilities and undermines public trust. 

It is on this issue that the new guidelines elaborated by the Working Table set up at the Ministry of Health intervene , which were approved on 1 August by the State-Regions Conference .

The most relevant news? The classic colors that were assigned to each patient at the triage (red, yellow, green and white) are revolutionized, with the onset of blue and above all the indication, for each category, of a maximum waiting time for the first visit. .

In short, if until yesterday a patient in the green code simply knew that he had to give priority to the one in the yellow code, now he also has a reasonable idea of ​​how much time he will have to spend waiting for the doctor or the specialized nurse.

The 5 first aid codes

It is therefore time to start familiarizing yourself with the 5 new first aid codes : 

1, emergency (red). Interruption or impairment of one or more vital functions. Immediate access to the treatment areas;

2, urgency (orange). Risk of impaired vital functions, a condition with developmental risk or severe pain. Access to the treatment areas within 15 minutes; 

3, deferrable urgency (blue). Stable condition without developmental risk with suffering and relapse on the general state that usually requires complex services. Access to treatment areas within 60 minutes;4, minor urgency (green). Stable condition without developmental risk that usually requires simple single-specialist diagnostic and therapeutic services. Access to treatment areas within 120 minutes;5, non-urgency (white). Non-urgent problem or of minimal clinical significance. Access to treatment areas within 240 minutes.

The comments of the ministry and doctors

“Another big problem that is very close to my heart is that of the first aid problem,” said Health Minister Giulia Grillo the day after the announcement.

“There will no longer be the so-called color codes but there will be numbers that will indicate the maximum waiting time from 1 to 5. This is precisely to link the type of service to ‘time’, therefore ‘time’ becomes an element of judgment and also of knowledge of a right on the part of the citizen “.

But in the medical environment there are also those who have expressed themselves in a much more critical way. “It is not this triage reform that will reduce expectations in the emergency room: 2 thousand doctors and about 10 thousand nurses are missing today in the national emergency-urgency”, comments Francesco Rocco Pugliese , national president of Simeu , the Italian Society of Emergency-Urgency Medicine “.

“The 400 specialization grants won this year are still few and in any case they will produce specialists no earlier than four years – he adds -. Meanwhile , doctors are fleeing from the emergency room today due to burnout, aggression by patients and the lack of economic incentives to compensate for the hardship at work ”.

Hard also the Codacons , the association for the protection of consumers. “There are situations, especially in hospitals in southern Italy, where the level of assistance is from the third world , with citizens abandoned in the corridors and in the wards because the lack of medical personnel does not allow them to meet the requests”, says the president Carlo Rienzi .

“The critical issues of the Italian emergency rooms are certainly not resolved by resorting to new codes for triage, but by increasing the number of doctors and nurses able to provide adequate assistance to patients”, he concludes

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