Lakeridge Health’s emergency room medical directives enhance patient care and access

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Lakeridge Health (LH) is putting the final touches on 30 new and updated medical directives to be used by physicians and nurses in its emergency departments. Emergency room nurses at the Oshawa, Bowmanville, and Port Perry sites will be specially trained and certified to provide faster diagnosis and treatment freeing emergency physicians to attend to more critical cases.

The process will involve delegation of the required directive from the authorizing emergency physicians to the appropriately educated nurse practitioner. The directive can include an order for treatments, procedures, drugs, or other interventions for patients with certain conditions. Once initiated, a hard copy of the directive will be signed by both the nurse and physician and attached to the patient chart creating a more timely and comprehensive patient record.

“Getting patients in, diagnosed and treated appropriately and safely is our number one priority at Lakeridge Health,” said Ted Sellers, Clinical Education Leader for Emergency. “At a time when physician time is at a premium and in high demand, it’s important that the skills, experience and education of all of our medical professionals are maximized to ensure timely access for patients.”

These directives are also expected to increase patient satisfaction and allow for professional growth and autonomy of Lakeridge Health’s physician and nursing staff. Some of the directives include:

  • Chest Pain
  • Seizures, adult & paediatric
  • Ingested Foreign Body
  • Hypoglycemia, adult and paediatric

Dr. Rudy Vandersluis, Emergency Physician at Lakeridge Health Bowmanville, agreed that medical directives are the way of the future in healthcare. “The use of medical directives for Oshawa’s Emergency Room has been very positive for both patients and health-care professionals,” said Dr. Vandersluis. “Now all three emergency departments will put the directive approach into action.”

These existing directives, as well as new ones currently under development, should be ready for implementation this fall. “We’ve already been contacted by a number of hospitals across Canada interested in reviewing our work,” added Ted Sellers. “They want to determine whether it can be used in their own facilities. We are happy to share our experience since we are all focused on providing faster and better care, especially as we all wrestle with the challenge of increasingly scarce health-care professionals.”