A group of five nurses gathered around a computer screen.

New protocols for patient care: Registered Nurse Savannah Robinson, Acting Trauma Clinical Nurse Consultant Felicity Pilon, Clinical Nurse Specialist Tiffany Hardy, Emergency Department Clinical Nurse Educator Ben Lansdowne, Clinical Nurse Unit Manager Matt Williamson talk through the ECAT system.

ECAT brings consistent care for patients in all NSW EDs

Jun 25, 2024

All Emergency Departments in Mid North Coast Local Health District have been involved in implementing a state-wide project called ECAT.

ECAT stands for ‘Emergency Care Assessment and Treatment’.

The project aims to improve patient experience by providing nurse-initiated care following triage and before being seen by a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or physiotherapist.

The program consists of 73 protocols representing best practice clinical guidance, covering common presenting conditions for adults and children.

Led by the ACI (Agency for Clinical Innovation), and partnered by the ECI (Emergency Care Institute), HETI (Health Education and Training) and NSW Nursing and Midwifery Office, this extensive project involved major collaboration with a variety of agencies, and emergency clinicians.

Nurse-initiated care models are not new to NSW Emergency Departments, however, ECAT consists of a standardised approach to emergency care ensuring the delivery of consistent best practices and the reduction in the variation of care.

There are multiple benefits to this approach for patients, staff and hospitals, including:

  • Patients will receive the same care, regardless of which Emergency Department they attend.
  • By receiving initial treatment quickly, patients can be made more comfortable and may spend less time in hospital.
  • Nurses can proactively attend to the needs of patients by utilising their skills and expertise.
  • Medical and Nurse Practitioners can spend more time on the patient’s management plan.

ECAT also provides an education pathway for emergency nurses working in NSW emergency departments; a novice-to-expert continuum that enables nurses to keep developing their knowledge, skills and experience.

Mid North Coast Local Health District Emergency Departments commenced using ECAT protocols on 19 June. Go-live day was supported by the LHD ECAT Project Team, visiting representatives from the ACI, senior nursing staff, site leads and local clinical champions.

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