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Journal of Ambulatory Care Management:
doi: 10.1097/JAC.0000000000000001
Original Articles

Comparison of Emergency Nurses Association Emergency Severity Triage and Australian Emergency Mental Health Triage Systems for the Evaluation of Psychiatric Patients

Downey, La Vonne A. PhD; Zun, Leslie S. MD, MBA; Burke, Trena MPA

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Abstract

The use of a triage system in the emergency department allows for the ability to reliably assign patients for treatment within a short amount of time in order to prioritize and treat on the basis of patients injury and illness. A 5 point triage system has been shown to have the highest correlation with effective resource utilizations, lower time to be seen and treatment times, and admission or release outcomes for patients. The problem is, however, that these triage scales were developed on the basis of physical illness and not on the ever-increasing number of patients who present with mental illness. This article compares one physical and one specific mental illness–based triage system to measure the differences in times to be seen by a physician. It found that the specialized psychiatric triage system decreased wait times and allowed symptoms to be addressed sooner for patients presenting with psychiatric complaints.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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