Triage in a Chiropractic Pediatric Setting

Drew Rubin, BS, DC, CCSP, DACCP
Life University
Marietta, GA USA


Background: Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary states that “triage categories include P-1 (immediate referral), P-2 (cautionary), P-3 (limited concern).” The use of triage in a chiropractic practice is to determine whether or not a case that has presented to an office is in need of a referral or is of less concern.

Objective: To illustrate the importance of triage skills in a primary care, chiropractic pediatric practice. This is examined both in the new patient setting as well as during visit-to-visit protocol.

Method: An analysis of the number of triage visits during a one year time
period was performed on the following: 48 new children or pregnant women; 1634 existing pediatric and pregnancy visits.

Results: The average level of triage for a new patient, whether pediatric or
pregnant, was a P3 level, with over 85% of new patients falling into that category. 15% were at a P2 level; there were none at the P1 level. Between 12-15% of the total of existing pediatric or pregnancy visits were at a P1 or P2 level of triage. 11% of the total of pediatric triage visits was of the P1 level.

Discussion: New patients rarely come to a pediatric office in a P1 level
crisis, whereas existing patients have a much higher likelihood of presenting during a P1 challenge. P2 triage levels are somewhat common, while P3 triage levels are the most frequent.

Conclusion: Triage methods are a way to help place a patient in a category that can ensure an optimum, safe and effective level of care.

Keywords: Triage, Pediatrics, Pregnancy, Crisis, Primary Care