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Seven lessons from Kenyatta Hospital casualty wing

The Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) is one of the busiest referral hospitals in the country and more so, its casualty wing.

To decongest the facility, doctors at the hospital have referring patients with less serious complications to the nearby Mbagathi Hospital.

The move has improved service delivery and even reduced the number of hours one has to wait for admission.

Here are some lessons learnt that will help you out at the facility.

1. Get all the help you can
It all starts from the triage room. The running around one has to do to secure an admission is real, so arm yourself with as many relatives and friends as possible. You will need them.

An example is when your patient has to go for x-ray and you still require to pick up results from the lab, while at the same time staying in line to see the consultant. It can be overwhelming so always tag along people to assist with the process.

2.Explain your patient’s condition over and over
Do not get tired of explaining to every staffer involved about the condition of your patient. Do not assume everyone will read through the history, keep explaining and you will be surprised how some of them will offer good advice and even help you out when the case is what they classify as an acute emergency.

3.Cashless payment
KNH does not accept cash payments and so if you are not using an insurance card, load up your M-Pesa or have your Visa card. All payments are made through those platforms.

4.Be nice
You will be surprised how other patients and even staff will be helpful when you are nice. Every case in KNH is a referral from another hospital hence it is always a serious condition.  Do not assume that your patient is the one going through the hardest of times.

5.Be ready to run around
The facility is huge and so you will find yourself pacing through the corridors often. Ensure you set your mind to be ready for the running around and fuel your body by grabbing some water and snack whenever possible. The last thing you want is to end up in fatigue with a patient to take care of.

6.Brace up for long hours
The admission process at the facility can take very long depending on the case. Often, the first step is the triage room where you head after getting a card for the patient. Next you are led to the consultation rooms where different tests are ordered for and for casualty x-rays and CT scans are common.

After the x-ray room and dropping of blood samples for lab testing, one heads back to the consultation room where you line up and wait for your turn.

It is there that the doctor gives the way forward on whether patient will be admitted and refers the case to the specific specialist, be it a neurologist or orthopedist as is common with casualty cases.

7.Have a heart
It is common that while at casualty you will encounter a family that has just lost a loved one. Extend some condolences and share nice words as is human nature.

Sometimes words can help and make it easy for a grieving family so offer emotional support and allow them to let it all out and grieve without looking at them like aliens.