COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control: Your Questions Answered
Triage (or screening)
In the strategies for effective infection prevention and control (IPC), what does triage entail at hospitals?
Triage includes screening at the entrance, identification of cases and isolation if necessary. There should be a triage (screening) area where visitors to the hospital are interviewed using standard
questionnaires to identify symptoms, along with temperature checks and documentation of contacts. Individuals who meet the case definition for COVID-19 should be isolated immediately while arrangement is being made for swab (sample) collection from the patient. (See the WHO guidance on triage).
Should triage be carried out by nurses only?
No, but it is easier to use nursing staff who have little or no training but understand the COVID-19 case definition very well. However, other healthcare workers such as laboratory scientists, pharmacists, doctors and even medical record officers could handle triage if they are trained to do so and if they are not needed at their station.
Identification of symptoms and temperature check are part of nursing duties.