New A&E to help patient flow

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The head of emergency services at the Western Trust says a new and improved A&E at Altnagelvin will help the flow of patients across the entire acute services Department.

Geraldine McKay, Director of Acute Services, said: “The refurbishment was designed to not only improve the aesthetics of the main waiting room but also to better segregate the flow of patients across the entire Department to improve the accessibility of care for each of our patients.

“With 55,000 patients treated annually, the refurbishment had to be undertaken in three phases to ensure that the department could remain operational throughout the process. Through the combined efforts and flexibility of our staff the Western Trust was able to successfully complete the entire schedule of works within six months.”

Phase one of the project saw the Waiting Room refurbishment completed with the creation of a new reception area offering staff the ability to monitor patients across the entire seating area. The new Waiting Room also features ergonomic seating, calming imagery, new bathroom facilities and free patient Wi-Fi.

Phase Two saw the installation of a new Paediatric area with dedicated seating and cubicle space so that children can be treated away from the main department. The Minor Injury suite received a new entrance, reception, waiting area and cubicle space to ensure that the department can consistently and effectively run its nurse led treatment unit.

Phase Three brought a new seating area for patients and families in the Major Injury Treatment Area and the re-alignment of existing cubicle space to offer staff greater patient visibility. A new viewing pane offering clinical staff a line of sight across the waiting room was also created in the Major Injury Area.

The Trust has also updated its signage across the entire Department – becoming the first hospital in Northern Ireland to use a new evidence based package commissioned by the Department of Health (England). The signage explains each step in the Emergency Department journey, from arrival to departure, so that patients can better understand the stages of their individual care.