Thursday 16th June 2016 sees the launch of the Irish Children’s Triage System by the National Emergency Medicine Programme at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. It will also feature at the international Social Media and Critical Care Conference (smaccDUB) being held at the Convention Centre, Dublin. This is a very significant landmark for Irish Emergency Medicine and Nursing and represents the culmination of a number of years’ work to devise a fit-for-purpose prioritisation system for children attending Ireland’s Emergency Departments (EDs).
For many years it has been recognized that the currently available prioritisation systems for children (patients up to their 16th birthday) are not fit for purpose. Existing scales are derived from adult practice and are neither comprehensive enough nor accurately reflect the likelihood of a child requiring admission or, perhaps surprisingly, requiring paediatric critical care. There are many examples of children given a high triage priority (i.e. deemed to be very urgent) who end up ultimately being discharged home from the ED and equally (and unfortunately) some children given a low triage priority who end up requiring Paediatric Intensive Care Unit admission. This reality prompted the Emergency Nursing Interest Group and the Emergency Medicine Programme to build on initial work done in the Dublin Paediatric EDs to address this issue and develop a prioritisation system that meets the needs of children far better than current tools. Piloting and auditing of the performance of the system in a variety of EDs around the country was so successful that the piloting hospitals opted to keep using the system rather than revert to their previous approaches. The implementation of the system was also found to be equally successful in mixed EDs (i.e. EDs seeing adults and children).
The Association wishes to acknowledge the hard work of each of the nursing and medical members of the ICTS Steering Group in bringing this project through to completion and anticipates that it will be in use in all EDs seeing children by the end of 2016.