Development of Quality Measures for Pediatric Agitation Management in the Emergency Department

J Healthc Qual. 2022 Jul-Aug;44(4):218-229. doi: 10.1097/JHQ.0000000000000339. Epub 2022 Jan 21.


Objective: Pediatric mental health emergency department (ED) visits that involve restraints for agitation are increasing. Quality measures are used to assess and improve healthcare quality. Our objective was to develop quality measures for pediatric ED agitation management informed by multidisciplinary perspectives.

Methods: A multidisciplinary panel developed quality measures for pediatric ED agitation management through the modified Delphi method. Panelists ranked measures in importance and feasibility on a 9-point scale during 2 survey rounds, with a teleconference discussion between surveys. Consensus was defined by >75% of panelists ranking a quality measure highly (≥7) in importance and a median feasibility score of ≥4.

Results: Panelists included 36 physicians, nurses, social workers, security, child life specialists, hospital data analysts, and parents. The panel reached consensus on 20 quality measures. Measures with the highest percentage of scores with importance ≥7 were related to adverse medication events, patients restrained, staff/patient injuries, reescalation plans, presence of an algorithm to standardize care, formal staff training on deescalation techniques, time to medication administration, and room safety.

Conclusions: Twenty quality measures that incorporate multidisciplinary perspectives were developed for pediatric ED agitation management. Once operationalized and field tested, these measures may be used to assess and improve healthcare quality for pediatric agitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Humans
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Surveys and Questionnaires