The term, emergency management traditionally refers to prompt and immediate care given to victims and patients with critical and urgent needs. However, since a lot of people lack access to healthcare, a medical institution’s emergency department (ED) is increasingly being bolstered for both urgent and non-urgent problems. Hence, the core philosophy of emergency management has been significantly broadened to include concepts including whatever the victim, patient as well as family members considers it to be their main priority.
Large numbers of people seek emergency care for a lot of perceived conditions which can variably differ from their perception as well as the health care provider’s own perception of urgency and life-threatening conditions. Generally, life threatening conditions such as cardiac conditions, acute coronary syndromes (ACS), pulmonary edema, cardiac dsyrhythmias and major trauma are considered urgent conditions which are given the highest priority in emergency medical institutions. Moreover, whether or not a victim and his/her significant others perceived a condition which does not necessarily fall as urgent must still be given due care.
Quick facts about emergency department visits in developed countries worldwide
In 2008 there were approximately 120 million visits to emergency departments (EDs) in North America alone, this figure has risen 28% since the last decade and this increase is considered to be a result from overall population growth (by 12.3%) and an increase in the number of elderly adults in the last decade by (9.6%). Here are some quick facts about emergency visits:
- More than 14% of victims and patients arrive at emergency medical facilities by ambulance.
- People 65 years and older are among the highest rate of ED visits; these figures were five times higher for nursing home residents and more than 1/3 of all ED visits are by elderly adults above 65 years old.
- Injuries, poisoning, adverse drug reactions, drug overdose account for 35% of all visits to the emergency departments.
- Patients with medical insurances use their ED privileges four times more often than people without medical insurances.
- The leading cause of injuries include: motor vehicular crashes, falls, and home/workplace accidents.
- The average waiting time in the ED before being attended to by an emergency health care provider for a definitive diagnosis and appropriate management is approximately 30-45 minutes.
Scope and practice of emergency medical management
Emergency personnel including doctors, nurses and paramedics are required to have extensive skills, knowledge, expertise and experience in assessing and identifying patients’/victims’ health care problems and conditions especially in crisis and critical conditions. Moreover, emergency care personnel must quickly establish priorities, monitor and constantly asses and evaluate acute and severely ill patients. Also emergency medical personnel, especially emergency nurses should give support while attending to the needs of the victim’s/patient’s families as well overseeing and constantly supervising other allied health personnel within a time-limited, high pressure care environment.
An effective collaboration of medicine, nursing as well as allied medical services constitute a high rate of success of a patient’s recovery based on quick but impeccable assessment data and evaluation by the different members of the healthcare emergency team. Moreover, as a whole the emergency healthcare team must work as a unit in performing the highly technical hands-on skills required to care for victims/patients as well as their significant others in emergency situations.