Triaging the emergency department, not the patient

Triage, as it is understood in the context of the emergency department, is the first and perhaps the most formal stage of the initial patient encounter | Journal of Emergency Nursing

Bottlenecks during intake and long waiting room times have been linked to higher rates of patients leaving without being seen. The solution in many emergency departments has been to collect less information at triage or use an “immediate bedding” or “pull until full” approach, in which patients are placed in treatment areas as they become available without previous screening. The purpose of this study was to explore emergency nurses’ understanding of—and experience with—the triage process, and to identify facilitators and barriers to accurate acuity assignation.

Full reference: Wolf, L.A. et al. (2017) Triaging the emergency department, not the patient: United States emergency nurses’ experience of the triage process. Journal of Emergency Nursing. Published online: 24 July 2017

The role of nurses’ clinical impression in the first assessment of children at the emergency department

This study explores the diagnostic value and determinants of nurses’ clinical impression for the recognition of children with a serious illness on presentation to the emergency department (ED) | Archives of Disease in Childhood

Main outcome measures: Diagnostic accuracy of nurses’ clinical impression for the prediction of serious illness, defined by intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital admission. Determinants of nurses’ impression that a child appeared ill.

Results: Nurses considered a total of 1279 (20.0%) children appearing ill. Sensitivity of nurses’ clinical impression for the recognition of patients requiring ICU admission was 0.70 (95% CI 0.62 to 0.76) and specificity was 0.81 (95% CI 0.80 to 0.82). Sensitivity for hospital admission was 0.48 (95% CI 0.45 to 0.51) and specificity was 0.88 (95% CI 0.87 to 0.88). When adjusted for age, gender, triage urgency and abnormal vital signs, nurses’ impression remained significantly associated with ICU (OR 4.54; 95% CI 3.09 to 6.66) and hospital admission (OR 4.00; 95% CI 3.40 to 4.69). Ill appearance was positively associated with triage urgency, fever and abnormal vital signs and negatively with self-referral and presentation outside of office hours.

Conclusion: The overall clinical impression of experienced nurses at the ED is on its own, not an accurate predictor of serious illness in children, but provides additional information above some well-established and objective predictors of illness severity.

Full reference: Zachariasse, J.M. et al. (2017)  The role of nurses’ clinical impression in the first assessment of children at the emergency department. Archives of Disease in Childhood. Published Online First: 10 June 2017

Validity of the Manchester Triage System in patients with sepsis presenting at the ED

Gräff, I. et al. Emergency Medicine Journal. Published Online: 19 December 2016

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Background: The Manchester Triage System (MTS) does not have a specific presentational flow chart for sepsis. The goal of this investigation was to determine adequacy of acuity assignment for patients with sepsis presenting at the ED and triaged using the MTS.

 

Conclusions: The MTS has some weaknesses regarding priority levels in emergency patients with septic illness. Overall, target key symptoms (discriminators) which aim at identifying systemic infection and ascertaining vital parameters are insufficiently considered.

Read the full abstract here

The Sydney Triage to Admission Risk Tool to predict Emergency Department Disposition

Dinh, M.M. et al. BMC Emergency Medicine. Published online: 3 December 2016

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Background: Disposition decisions are critical to the functioning of Emergency Departments. The objectives of the present study were to derive and internally validate a prediction model for inpatient admission from the Emergency Department to assist with triage, patient flow and clinical decision making.

Conclusion: By deriving and internally validating a risk score model to predict the need for in-patient admission based on basic demographic and triage characteristics, patient flow in ED, clinical decision making and overall quality of care may be improved. Further studies are now required to establish clinical effectiveness of this risk score model.

Read the full article here