By Debra Spamer, vice president of business development of Company Nurse, LLC
Workplace injuries can happen to anyone — even those who help treat injuries. As you’ve seen, employees in the healthcare industry need access to medical guidance when workplace injuries occur, just like the rest of the workforce.
In the past year alone, we’ve triaged thousands of injury incidents for healthcare employees. From back strains due to lifting patients to exposures to hazardous materials, healthcare workers experience a variety of workplace injuries.
Employees in the healthcare industry typically have access to a nurse or doctor right in their workplace — or they may even be one themselves. But seeking medical treatment from their workplace may not be an employee’s best path for care and may contradict the employer’s unique protocols, complicating the workplace injury management process for both employers and employees.
With nurse triage, injured workers get the guidance and confidence that they need to follow the correct process after an injury, can rest assured that they’re directed to the right level of care, and get their injury reporting process started immediately.
Navigating Unique Protocols
Healthcare workers face a variety of hazards, including dangerous exposures. And when they sustain an exposure, it’s scary. Workers may be shocked and forget the proper protocol. In turn, they don’t receive the treatments they need, and their exposures are reported incorrectly or perhaps not at all.
By having a nurse triage program in place, workers can easily follow regulations and their employer’s unique protocol for exposures. All they need to remember is to contact their nurse triage service and they will be walked through the necessary steps. Direct access to a triage nurse also encourages timely reporting of injuries and exposures, an important part of complying to protocol.
The Right Level of Care
Nurse triage provides healthcare employees with access to an impartial third-party whose role is to help injured workers get appropriate care advice. Without nurse triage, these employees may seek advice or treatment from supervisors, co-workers, or even themselves.
A co-worker or supervisor may insist an injured worker is fine because they are busy and don’t want to be short-staffed. Or, a supervisor may err on the side of caution and send an injured worker to the emergency room, even if it’s unnecessary.
The truth is, many of these injuries don’t need the attention of a medical provider. In fact, 36% of the injury incidents we triaged over the past year for healthcare employees were addressed simply with self-care advice. Only 16% of injuries required a visit to the emergency room, while 47% of injuries were taken care of with a visit to a non-emergency medical facility.
When workers have access to nurse triage, they’re not relying on their supervisors or employers to make medical decisions, protecting both the employees and employers.
Reporting Made Simple
There is always the chance that an injury will worsen and need to become a claim. And if this happens to healthcare workers who treat injuries themselves, without consulting a triage nurse, they’ll have to make late reports of their injuries to initiate the claims process.
And they may be unsure of how to even start the reporting process. Whom do they contact? Are there any forms they need to fill out? Is this even a claim?
By the time they’re actually reporting their injury, vital information can get forgotten and witnesses and evidence can become unavailable.
With nurse triage, the injury reporting process starts as soon as an injured worker contacts a triage nurse. All the details will be documented: what happened, when and where the injury occurred, if there were witnesses, and any other details needed to paint a full picture of the incident for each stakeholder.
Nurse triage helps you to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
With access to a triage nurse, healthcare workers can be confident they are going to the right level of care, through the right people and process. Want to learn how nurse triage can help your healthcare organization? Let’s get in touch.