Project Austin, named in honor of Austin, is an innovative program designed and facilitated by two nurses to bridge the knowledge and training gaps between Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and emergency departments (ED). The program provides collaboration and training with local community education services on an emergency plan of care developed by the child’s medical care team.

Project Austin aims to create awareness within the community regarding the needs of children living with medically complexity and establish an emergency system that is specific to each child. The goal is to ensure that every child receives the correct care they require, and that such care is easily accessible within their local community.

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Our Mission & Vision

Our Mission: Project Austin fosters continuity of care for children with medical complexity by collaborating with emergency medical services and hospital emergency departments to build community awareness, provide education and devise an emergency system surrounding the child.

Our Vision: Project Austin will be known as a leader in expanding awareness and advancing knowledge to foster an educated, efficient system of care surrounding children with medical complexity.

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Founders Tiffany Simon and Natalie McCawley
An overview of Project Austin

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Lead Firefighter/Paramedic Eric Hallagan
Benefits of Project Austin in the field

Improving Care & Outcomes

Children with medical complexities are a vulnerable population that require special medical treatment in the hospital and home community. When medical emergencies occur at home, many of these children are treated by local Emergency Medical Services (EMS), such as fire/rescue and emergency departments (ED). EMS and ED health care personnel have minimal training on CMC, so they are under-prepared to address this population’s special medical needs. This can lead to increased patient harm related to delay in treatment, unnecessary tests or procedures and serious preventable errors.

Project Austin delivers a standardized care model to provide first responders with patient-specific information, resources, education, and training that has proven to reduce unnecessary emergency department visits, hospital lengths of stay and overall medical costs.

Health Care Cost Reduction

By sharing and providing training on a child’s care plans, patients enrolled in Project Austin visit emergency departments less often and have fewer unplanned hospital stays. In addition, patients and families feel more comfortable with their care providers and are more confident in their ability to communicate their medical needs.

Children’s Nebraska, where Project Austin was founded, has demonstrated a $221.6 million reduction in organizational costs after implementing Project Austin, which translates to a 55 percent reduction in costs.

Are you interested in implementing Project Austin in your hospital?

For more information, email:
ProjectAustinInfo@ChildrensNebraska.org
If you’d like to learn how to implement Project Austin in your hospital, complete and submit the form.

Directors:

Natalie McCawley
RN, MSN, CCRN

Tiffany Simon
RN, MSN, CCRN

Are you a designated trauma center?(Required)
Do you have an EMS Coordinator?(Required)
Do you have an Outreach Coordinator?(Required)
How would you describe your geographical area served?(Required)
How would you describe your facilities relationship with emergency medical systems (EMS) in your area?(Required)
Do you have Nurse Case Managers in the following areas?
Specialty Clinics(Required)
Inpatient Units(Required)

The Story of Project Austin

Austin was a 15-month-old toddler with a congenital heart defect and tracheostomy. One fateful night, his family faced their worst nightmare and called 911 when he experienced severe breathing difficulties. Despite his parents informing the local EMS about Austin’s critical airway, the first responders ventilated him through back-valve-mask ventilation, worsening his condition.

Austin was taken to the nearest hospital, which was not his primary medical home. Sadly, he was taken off life support after three days due to a hypoxic brain injury. Austin’s story is a tragic reminder of the thousands of children with medical complexity living in communities that lack the necessary resources to provide life-saving interventions.

Project Austin was founded at Children’s Nebraska in 2023 by two nurse managers: Natalie McCawley, RN, MSN, CCRN; and Tiffany Simon, RN, MSN, CCRN and Austin’s mom.

Are you a Children’s Nebraska area family looking to enroll your child in the Children’s Nebraska Project Austin program? 

visit project austin program website