Improvements to Broken Hill Hospital Emergency Department to benefit all patients

Visitors to the Emergency Department at Broken Hill Hospital have some extra amenities to make the experience less stressful including a striking mural that tells the story of triage.

Recent changes made to the Emergency Department (ED) waiting area was part of a project to improve the experience for patients, said Ms Susan Thomas, Nursing Unit Manager, Broken Hill Health Service Emergency Department.

“No one likes having to go to an Emergency Department, especially if they have to wait for a while before they are seen. Our Emergency Department was lucky to have been included in a Ministry of Health project designed to make ED waiting rooms a little more comfortable”

The improvements made so far include:

  • New, clear and easily identified signage for the Triage and Clerk windows. This will help direct people immediately to see the Triage Nurse or Clinician first.
  • Five red chairs to clearly identify those patients who have spoken to the Triage Nurse or other Clinician and are waiting for a complete triage to be attended. This will help the flow of triage patients, particularly when there is a sudden influx of patients.
  • A touchscreen feedback kiosk for patients to give feedback anonymously on their experience in the ED. The information will be regularly reviewed and will help inform further opportunities for continual improvement initiatives in the Emergency Department
  • A 20 phone charging dock (that will accommodate most phone chargers). People often ask for help to charge their phones and the dock will help people caught out with a flat phone.
  • New water cooler.
  • A wall play station for children.

“The feedback kiosk especially is important because we need to know if there is a problem, and if there is a continuing theme, it can help us address the issue sooner rather than later,” said Ms Thomas.

Ms Thomas said a mural on the department’s wall was a particularly pleasing addition to the department. The mural is titled ‘Triage” and was painted by Aboriginal artist Corey Payne and partner Elisha Mangal.

‘Triage’ helps to explain how the triage system works from an Aboriginal perspective. The mural starts near the department’s entrance with circles depicting community and linked by a path, with people on a path moving inwards to the waiting area. The main mural tells the story of what triage is, why people with different illnesses may have to wait different times and how the red chairs are for those who are waiting to see the Triage Nurse.

“We want Aboriginal people, and indeed everyone, to feel as comfortable as they can when coming to the ED for treatment. We want them to stay and get that treatment and we hope the mural will help people understand that they may need to wait before a Doctor can see them.”

Ms Thomas said she hopes that these improvements to the Emergency Department will help make patients have a more positive experience during their visit.




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