The telephone has become a vital link in health care today. Heightened awareness of cost and access to health-care services has significantly increased the consumer’s use of the phone to determine the urgency of a problem and the need for medical attention. Emergency departments, primary care providers, and other health-care providers receive numerous calls from individuals regarding the need to access medical care, often in an attempt to avoid spending unnecessary health-care dollars. Using organized, systematic telephone triage protocols, nurses can respond to these calls with confidence and consistency while minimizing subjectivity. In this rapidly changing health-care environment, new medications, treatments, devices, and practice modalities are evolving daily. The number of FDA-approved over-thecounter medications has increased steadily and enabled individuals to effectively manage conditions at home rather than visit their primary care provider for a prescription. Many conditions are now treated in the outpatient setting or at home. Time-sensitive treatments such as thrombolytics for strokes and cardiac catheterization for heart attacks make rapid triage in an emergency care setting imperative. The fifth edition of Telephone Triage Protocols for Nurses has incorporated these considerations in the revision of existing protocols and the development of new ones.
• Protocols have been thoroughly reviewed, revised, and updated to reflect current practice and changes in access to medications and health care.
• Protocols address adult, pediatric, geriatric, and maternal/child concerns and home health.
• Protocols have been updated and expanded to ensure pediatric and the rapidly expanding aging population’s concerns and conditions are adequately addressed.
• Expanded home care instructions provide more useful and timely information, list drug warnings whenever over-the-counter medications are suggested, and offer many home and alternative remedies.
• New protocols have been added to address current health issues and communicable