Prior reports describe the care children receive in community EDs (CEDs) compared with paediatric EDs (PEDs) as uneven. The Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) initiative works to close these gaps using quality improvement (QI) methodology. Project champion from a community hospital network identified the use of safe pharmacological and non-pharmacological anxiolysis and analgesia (A&A) as one such gap and partnered with EMSC to address it. Our primary Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound (SMART) aim was to increase intranasal midazolam (INM) use for common, anxiety-provoking procedures on children <8 years of age from 2% to 25% in a year.EMSC facilitated a QI team with representation from the CED and regional children's hospitals. Following the model for improvement, we initiated a process analysis of this CED A&A practice. Review of all paediatric procedural data identified common anxiety-provoking simple procedures as laceration repairs, abscess drainage and foreign body removal. Our SMART aims were benchmarked to two regional PEDs and tracked through statistical process control. A balancing metric was ED length of stay (ED LOS) for patients <8 years of age requiring a laceration repair. Additionally, we surveyed CED frontline staff and report perceptions of changes in A&A knowledge, attitudes and practice patterns. These data prioritised and informed our key driver diagram which guided the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles, including guideline development, staff training and cognitive aids.Anxiety-provoking simple procedures occurred on average 10 times per month in children <8 years of age. Through PDSA cycles, the monthly average INM use increased from 2% to 42%. ED LOS was unchanged, and the perceptions of provider's A&A knowledge, attitudes and practice patterns improved.A CED-initiated QI project increased paediatric A&A use in a CED network. An A&A toolkit outlines our approach and may simplify spread from academic children's hospitals to the community.
Keywords: analgesia; pain management; pediatric emergency medicine; pediatrics; quality improvement.