Triage and Treat model of care: Effective management of minor injuries in the Emergency Department.

Ms ERIN TANTI1, Dr Joanne Porter1, Mrs Trish Van Donk2
1Federation University, Churchill, Australia, 2Latrobe Regional Hospital , Traralgon, Australia

Aim: This study aims to describe the relationship between the triage and treat model of care and patient outcomes, including effectiveness, length of stay, patient flow and patient satisfaction with emergency clinical care.
Background: The increasing demands on the emergency department (ED) can result in lengthy waits for non-urgent category four and five presentations. As a result, some patients are given definitive simple treatments in the triage area and/or are given advice regarding self-care.  This process is commonly referred to as a “triage and treat” model of care.
Method: A cross-sectional descriptive study was used in this pilot study to determine the effectiveness of a triage & treat model of care in a single Regional ED. Convenience sampling was used with patient follow up via a phone call to determine if any clinical complications or unexpected outcomes occurred and to determine the level of satisfaction with the care received.
Results: One hundred and seventeen participants were recruited to the study, with the majority of the presentations in the 0-10 age range (38%). The mean length of stay was 19 minutes with the majority (97%) presenting with wounds requiring interventions. Of the participants recruited to the study only 23% (n=27) required review following their triage and treat care and only three participants recruited to the study expressed being dissatisfied, equating to a high level of satisfaction with this model of care.
Conclusion: This pilot study has shown the triage and treat model of care to be a safe and effective option for caring for participants presenting to the ED for the management of the minor wounds. The triage and treat model of care improves patient satisfaction and flow through the emergency department while also reducing waiting times making it an effective emergency model of care.

Erin Tanti is a Lecturer in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare Professions at  Federation University, she is also an Endorsed Critical Care Nurse Practitioner. She is interested in research that examines clinical and leadership nursing roles within the Emergency Department.