Theimprovements that have been reported in the initial assessment, aswell as management of the clients in the emergency departments, havebeen associated inextricably with the improvements in the triageprocess. By definition, a triage is a term derived from a verb inFrench “trier” which means to pull or pick. Within thehealthcare system, the term has its foundation in the wars of theNapoleonic. Established as a process in the emergency departmentstriage has evolved from the year 1975 and is presently the primaryprocess in the emergency departments in Australia. In a studyundertaken by Broadbent, Creaton, Moxham, and Dwyer (2009), theresearchers sought to examine the application of the mental healthtriage in the emergency departments in Australia. Using thisresearch, this paper examines the practice of using a triage in theemergency departments and determines whether it is an evidenced-basedpractice or not.
Theuse of triage in the emergency departments has been applied in anumber of hospitals in Australia providing sufficient evidence forascertaining that this practice is evidence based. The AustralianFoundation triage scale used at the Box Hill Hospital in the year1975 was designed as a system meant to improve the first emergencyassessment. The triage scale for the Box Hill has subsequently beentaken up and tested with the aim of developing the NTS (NationalTriage Scale). In Australia, customers having a physical injury aswell as illness presenting to the emergency departments in Australiaare usually triaged using a well conventional triage scale referredto as the ATS. Regardless of the inclusion of the mental healthdescriptors in the triage, ATS, the application of the specializedMHTS has over time gained widespread acceptance in clinical practicefrom numerous perspectives. The SESAHS MHTS has equally beenreported as having a considerable widespread application acrossVictoria in Australia. This given triage scale was implementedsuccessfully into practice within the Geelong Hospital and theoutcome data applied by the National Institute of the ClinicalStudies as evidence to propel change in the emergency departmenttriage as well as management of customers having mental illnessacross the nineteen EDs in Victoria.
Regardlessof the widespread application of MHTS apart from the use of ATSacross the Australian nation, the majority of the emergencydepartments continue to apply the ATS for the mental triageassessment in place of adopting the specialized MHTS into theirclinical assessment systems. Evidence suggest that triage is afundamental process in the emergency departments, and every attemptis required to ascertain that the triage of customers suffering frommental illness is in line with the triage assessment of theindividuals suffering from physical conditions. The authors of thisarticle suggest that based on evidence, it is important that theemergency departments, as well as the mental health services, have atriage system comparable to the ones used for the clients withillnesses as well as physical injury. According to this article,clients suffering from a mental illness presenting to the emergencydepartments might be triaged against one out of the four known andused health triage scales. However, research indicates that thedescriptors of mental health in the ATS are not very reliable as thespecialized mental health triage. The implications of the practicefor the clinical practice affects the first triage assessment in theemergency departments as well as the ability of the mental healthclinicians to respond in an appropriate time having an impact on theoutcomes of the clinic.
Broadbent,M., Creaton, A., Moxham, L., & Dwyer, T. (2009). Review of triagereform: the case for national consensus on a single triage scale forclients with a mental illness in Australian emergency departments.Journalof Clinical Nursing, 19,712-715.