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Critically insufficient pediatric hospital capacity may develop during a disaster or surge event. Research is lacking on the creation of pediatric surge capacity. A system of “reverse triage,” with early discharge of hospitalized patients, has been developed for adults and shows great potential but is unexplored in pediatrics.
We conducted an evidence-based modified-Delphi consensus process with 25 expert panelists to derive a disposition classification system for pediatric inpatients on the basis of risk tolerance for a consequential medical event (CME). For potential validation, critical interventions (CIs) were derived and ranked by using a Likert scale to indicate CME risk should the CI be withdrawn or withheld for early disposition.
Panelists unanimously agreed on a 5-category risk-based disposition classification system. The panelists established upper limit (mean) CME risk for each category as <2% (interquartile range [IQR]: 1–2%); 7% (5–10%), 18% (10–20%), 46% (20–65%), and 72% (50–90%), respectively. Panelists identified 25 CIs with varying degrees of CME likelihood if withdrawn or withheld. Of these, 40% were ranked high risk (Likert scale mean ≥7) and 32% were ranked modest risk (≤3).
The classification system has potential for an ethically acceptable risk-based taxonomy for pediatric inpatient reverse triage, including identification of those deemed safe for early discharge during surge events. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2015;9:283-290)
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