At Nenagh Hospital, Dr Damien Ryan, consultant Emergency Medicine; Brian Lenehan, consultant orthopaedic surgeon / Regional Lead Trauma and Orthopaedic Clinical Programme; Audrey Butler, orthopaedic
A TRAUMA Assessment Clinic (TAC) being trialled at Nenagh Hospital is helping to reduce wait times and frequency of hospital visits and to improve the patient experience.
The TAC is located at University Hospital Limerick and delivered by the Department of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery.
This service allows for the remote assessment and management of patients with specific injuries who until now would have been referred to the Fracture Clinic in Limerick.
Since a pilot project started in Nenagh Injury Unit last September over 40 patients have come through this pathway.
TACs allow patients to be reviewed remotely by the orthopaedic team following attendance at an Emergency Department or an Injury Unit. It also allows for appropriate triaging of patients to ensure that their injury is managed by the most appropriate person at the most appropriate time.
Audrey Butler, advanced nurse practitioner, orthopaedics, UL Hospitals Group, said: “It is effectively a virtual fracture clinic where patients attend the Injury Unit in Nenagh with a specific type of fracture. Whereas historically they would have been referred to the Fracture Clinic in UHL 10-14 days after initial treatment at their Injury Unit or ED, they can now be referred to the TAC.
“We can review patients X-rays and documentation remotely and we can have a telephone consult with the patient within a week. For patients and family members who may have had to drive them if they have had a fracture, it means less travel and less time off work.
“In Nenagh, we have picked three specific types of fracture that can be referred to the TAC - initially the clavicle, the fifth metatarsal and fifth metacarpal. Patients with these injuries are no longer brought to the Fracture Clinic in UHL as a matter of routine.”
Patients in the past would have come in and waited for a long time for what often could have been a very short consultation and patients and clinicians alike would question the benefit of that. So much can be done safely over the phone and the patients in Tipperary have responded quite positively to it. They are quite happy not to come in to UHL and they will contact the clinic directly if they have any problems, she said.
Dr Damien Ryan, consultant in Emergency Medicine, UL Hospitals Group and Nenagh Injury Unit, said that, so far, the feedback had been positive.