Emergency triage system for children ‘a milestone’

Doctors in emergency medicine have welcomed a new children’s triage system that will be in use in all emergency departments by the end of the year.

The Irish Children’s Triage System, the first of its kind, will be launched tomorrow by the National Emergency Programme at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

The Irish Association for Emergency Medicine (IAEM) described the system as a milestone for Irish emergency medicine and nursing.

A pilot study has shown the new regime enhances the level of care provided to children attending emergency departments (ED).

IAEM spokesman Fergal Hickey said current prioritisation systems for children were not fit for purpose, and this had been recognised for many years.

The consultant in emergency medicine said existing scales were derived from adult practice, and did not accurately reflect the likelihood of a child needing admission.

There were many examples of children being given a high triage priority who ended up being discharged home from the ED.

Some children given a low triage priority ended up needing to be admitted to a paediatric intensive care unit.

The situation prompted the Emergency Nursing Interest Group, and the Emergency Medicine Programme, to build on initial work done in the Dublin paediatric EDs to address the issue.

Mr Hickey said the hospitals involved in the pilot study opted to keep using the system. It was found to be equally successful where both adults and children were seen in EDs.

The new system will be featured at the International Social Media and Critical Care Conference, which is being held this week at the Convention Centre, Dublin.


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