Project Austin

Children with medical complexity have unique medical histories and require special medical treatment. Ideally, pediatric tertiary care centers, such as Children’s Nebraska, are the home hospitals for these children and are prepared to care for their complex medical needs.

In an emergency, many of these children are cared for by local Emergency Medical System (EMS) and emergency departments that may not be familiar with their special needs, leading to an increased risk of delayed treatment, unnecessary tests, and even serious preventable errors.

The overall goal of Project Austin is to provide continuity of care to children with medical complexity as they transition from the hospital to home by creating community awareness and providing education to local EMS and emergency departments regarding your child.

Are you interested in implementing Project Austin in your hospital? Learn More.

About Project Austin?

Project Austin was named in honor of a child named Austin Simon.

Austin was just 15 months old when he started having trouble breathing. Born with a congenital heart defect, he had been treated at Children’s, and when he was stabilized, he went home with his parents. But one night, he developed a blockage in his tracheostomy.

Austin’s parents immediately called 9-1-1 and the local EMS system reported to their home. Austin’s mom informed them of his critical airway, but with minimal knowledge regarding stabilization of a child with special healthcare needs, the EMTs began to try and ventilate Austin through bag-mask-ventilation. Austin was eventually transported to the closest hospital. The outcome was tragic and his parents were faced with the impossible decision of taking their son off of life support.

Even in their grief, Austin’s parents did not blame the paramedics. “They were scared to death,” explains Austin’s mother, Tiffany Simon, BSN, RN, CCRN, who is now Project Austin Manager at Children’s. “They were doing their best, but they weren’t trained on how to stabilize a child with special medical needs.”

Through this tragic loss, Project Austin was born. Project Austin is aimed at training emergency healthcare professionals, and other medical providers about the needs of children like Austin.

Watch Levi’s Story: Project Austin in Action

How Do I Enroll My Child?

  1. Contact the Project Austin Nurse Case Manager to enroll your child at 402-955-5733.
  2. The Project Austin Nurse Case Manager will review your child’s medical record and discuss with you if your child is eligible for enrollment.
  3. Project Austin Nurse Case Manager will complete an Emergency Medical Plan (EMP) with you regarding your child’s health care information.
  4. The legal guardian must sign the consent form to enroll their child in Project Austin. By signing the consent, you agree to participate in Project Austin, as well as give permission for the EMP to be shared with health care professionals in your community.
  5. The Project Austin Nurse Case Manager will send the EMP to your child’s local EMS, community hospital, primary care provider and caregivers. Based on community resources, additional education may be provided to these contacts.

What Do I Do Now That My Child Is Enrolled?

As a caregiver of a child with medical complexity, planning for emergency situations is critical. In addition to enrolling in Project Austin, we recommend the following steps to prepare for emergencies:

  • If your child should need emergency medical care, such as contacting 9-1-1 or going to an emergency department:
    • Notify the 9-1-1 operator and emergency health care professionals that your child is enrolled in Project Austin
    • Present the Emergency Medical Plan (EMP) or QR code to the emergency health care professionals
  • Plan for emergency situations.
    • Invite EMS to your home to meet you and your child
    • Review the EMP and discuss your child’s medical condition and equipment
    • Discuss roles in an emergency situation (how can emergency health care professionals assist you as the caregiver?)
  • Consider introducing yourself and your child to neighbors and other members in the community to assist in emergency situations.
  • Always keep the EMP or QR Code with your child. Consider the following places:
    • Medical bag, backpack or wheelchair
    • In your home by the front door, window or child’s bedroom
    • In vehicles, on car seat, seatbelt or window
    • School and childcare center
    • Places your child frequently visits (such as grandparents homes)

Project Austin Emergency Medical Plan QR Code – Coming Soon

The Emergency Medical Plan (EMP) currently printed on orange paper is changing to a QR Code for all patients enrolled in Project Austin.

An optional mobile app to access your child’s EMP is also available. AdaptCare can be downloaded on any smartphone or tablet.
Download the app in the Apple Store
Download the app using Google Play

Your Nurse Case Manager will contact you to complete the conversion to the QR code and provide information on downloading the AdaptCare app. 402-955-5733

How Do I Update the Emergency Medical Plan (EMP)?

Children with medical complexity have ongoing changes to their medical plan. Therefore, it is required that EMP be updated annually to provide emergency health care professionals with the most current information and to avoid medical errors.

  • Update the EMP every 6 months to 1 year, and after any of the following changes:
  • Any major surgery or procedure
  • Change or additional medical equipment
  • Change in address or phone numbers

Not updating the EMP yearly may result in unenrollment from Project Austin. It is the legal guardian’s responsibility to keep the EMP current. Children’s is not able to assume any responsibility for keeping the EMP updated. You may unenroll from Project Austin at any time by calling your Nurse Case Manager.

To update the EMP, contact the Project Austin Nurse Case Manager:

Call 402-955-5733.

For Parents And Caregivers

Project Austin FAQ for Caregivers

  • How do I know if my child is eligible for Project Austin?

    Project Austin serves children who might require special care in case of an emergency due to complex medical needs. A few examples would be seizures, heart disease, tracheostomy, or home ventilator. If your child has needs such as these and follows specialists at Children’s Nebraska for all their qualifying diagnoses, your child may be eligible for enrollment.
  • How do I enroll my child in Project Austin?

    You can speak to one of the Nurse Case Managers by calling 402-955-5733, or if you have Children’s Connect you can send us a message. We will review your child’s chart, and if they qualify, a consent form is completed.
  • How much does it cost to participate in Project Austin?

    Services provided by Project Austin are free of charge to families.
  • My child is currently enrolled in Project Austin. How do we transition from a paper emergency medical plan to the QR Code?

    Your Nurse Case Manager will contact you via Children’s Connect or phone to assist with the transition. The transition will occur throughout 2024.
  • Do I have to download the app for my child to be enrolled?

    You are not required to download the app, however, you may find it helpful to do so. Downloading the app provides a convenient way to access your child’s Emergency Medical Plan (EMP), making it easier for you to notify the Project Austin team when updates to the plan are needed.
  • How does the QR code work?

    When the QR code is scanned by the staff from your community EMS and ED, they will have immediate access to the entire Emergency Medical Plan. This includes your child’s name, date of birth, address, phone number, medication list, diagnoses, medical equipment, and the list of treatments that are specific to your child’s needs. Full EMP access will only be provided to your preferred EMS and ED.

    If the QR code is scanned by someone that is not affiliated with your preferred ED and EMS, they will not have access to your child’s name, date of birth, address or phone number. They will only have access to the medical information needed to help your child in an emergency.

  • Can I still enroll if I don’t want a QR code for my child? I would prefer the Emergency Medical Plan to be on paper.

    The Emergency Medical Plan is only available using the QR code, we are not able to provide printed copies.
  • Is the QR code safe?

    The QR Code and AdaptCare Mobile Application have gone through rigorous screening processes and comply with HIPAA standards.

    Consent is required for your child to enroll in Project Austin. Consent allows for Project Austin to share your child’s Emergency Medical Plan with their local EMS and ED.

  • I need to update my child’s emergency medical plan.

    Contact your Nurse Case Manager at 402-955-5733 or send a message in Children’s Connect ED.
  • I am having issues with the AdaptCare App.

    Contact the AdaptCare OneTeam help desk at [email protected] or 1-844-296-4615 .

For EMS and Emergency Departments

Be Prepared

  • Review the Emergency Medical Plan (EMP) on a consistent basis with crew and staff members
  • Keep the EMP or QR code easily accessible (such as an ambulance, nurses station or scanned in the child’s EMR) for frequent review and quick access when the child presents with a medical emergency
  • Consider incorporating the Project Austin child into your area dispatch system

Utilization of EMP

  • When using emergency services or presenting to an emergency department, caregivers have been instructed to present the EMP or QR code to crew and staff.
  • Instruct crew and staff to utilize the EMR to guide collaborative emergent medical care for the child
  • Children are provided orange bracelets to assist you in identifying that they are a Project Austin patient. Bracelets are placed on the patient’s medical bag, car seat or wheelchair.
  • Children are provided a QR code or orange copy of EMP to assist you in identifying that they are a Project Austin patient. They are placed on the patient’s medical bag, car seat or wheelchair.
  • For questions or training, contact Project Austin Outreach Liaison: Call 402-955-5733.

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