With Christmas fast approaching and cold weather settling across the Mid-West, Ennis Hospital is reminding local residents that their Injury Unit is open seven days a week, 8am to 8pm (including Christmas Day and bank holidays), for treatment of a range of minor injuries.
The Injury Unit in Ennis is one of 11 across the country and one of three in UL Hospitals Group, with the other Mid-Western units located in St John’s Hospital Limerick and Nenagh Hospital.
The expert team in the Ennis Injury Unit can treat patients over the age of 5 for a wide range of minor injuries, including sports injuries, broken bones, dislocations, sprains and minor burns.
Injury Units are a vital resource for local patients at times when numbers of seriously ill patients at the Emergency Department (ED) at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) reach a maximum.
To the end of October this year, a total of 9,875 patients attended the Ennis Injury Unit, up by 3% on the corresponding period in 2018. This is also ahead of the 2% rate of increase across the Group’s three Injury Units which, to the end of October 2019, had treated a total of 28,216 patients.
The Injury Unit at Ennis Hospital is staffed by a consultant-led team of doctors, Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs) and nurses who are highly experienced in the treatment of minor non-life and non-limb threatening injuries.
With seriously ill patients prioritised for treatment in the ED in UHL, the Injury Units help to maximise efficient patient flow and minimise wait times for patients.
Brenda Bleach, an ANP with the Ennis Hospital Injury Unit, says: “The advantage of going to the Injury Unit over the ED if you have a minor injury is that you will be seen more quickly here. The feedback from our patients is very positive.”
Injury Units can treat patients with broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns that are unlikely to need overnight admission to hospital. Staff members take x-rays, reduce joint dislocations, apply plaster casts and treat wounds by stitches or other means. Injury units provide swift access to tests and x-rays and some have rapid access to physiotherapy services. They are staffed by Consultant-led teams of doctors, Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs), nurses, radiographers and physiotherapists. Patients can go directly to the Unit or be referred by a GP.
Nationally, the average turn-around time for seeing and treating patients in injury units is 1-2 hours. The Injury Units in the Mid-West and across the State provide patients with the same level of expertise and service as Emergency Departments. The only exceptions are for patients with serious head, back and neck injuries, abdominal (stomach) pain, medical illnesses or mental health problems and children under the age of five. For appropriate patients who wish to avoid long waiting times, Injury Units are the best option.
Approximately one in three of all emergency presentations across UL Hospitals Group take place within the three Injury Units. Attendances continue to increase in Nenagh, Ennis and St John’s and the Injury Units have the capacity to do more still.
All three Injury Units have had consistently positive feedback and reaction from the patients they treat. There is no charge for patients with full medical cards or those patients with valid medical/GP referral letter.