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P019: Prehospital diversion of intoxicated patients to a detoxification facility vs the emergency department: safety and compliance of an EMS direct transport protocol

  • V. Bismah (a1), J. Prpic (a1), S. Michaud (a1) and N. Sykes (a1)

Abstract

Introduction: Prehospital transport of patients to an alternative destination (diversion) has been proposed as part of a solution to overcrowding in emergency departments (ED). We evaluated compliance and safety of an EMS bypass protocol allowing paramedics to transport intoxicated patients directly to an alternate facility [Withdrawal Management Services (WMS)], bypassing the ED. Patients were eligible for diversion if they were ≥18 years old, classified as CTAS level III-IV, scored <4 on the Prehospital Early Warning (PHEW) score, and did not have any vital sign parameters in a danger zone (as per PHEW score criteria). Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted on intoxicated patients presenting to Sudbury EMS. Data was abstracted from EMS reports, hospital medical records, and discharge forms from WMS. Protocol compliance was measured using missed protocol opportunities (patients eligible for diversion but taken directly to the ED) and protocol noncompliance rates; protocol safety was measured using protocol failure (presentation to ED within 48 hours of appropriate diversion) and patient morbidity rates (hospital admission within 48 hours of diversion). Data was analysed qualitatively and quantitatively using proportions. Results: EMS responded to 681 calls for intoxication. Of the 568 taken directly to the ED, 65 met diversion criteria; these were missed protocol opportunities (11%). 113 patients were diverted. There was protocol noncompliance in 41 cases (36%), but 35 were due to incomplete recording of vital signs. There were direct protocol violations in only 6 cases (5%). There was protocol failure in 16 cases (22%), and patient morbidity in 1 case (1%). No patients died within 48 hours of diversion. Conclusion: EMS providers were fairly compliant with the protocol when transporting patients directly to the ED. There was some protocol non-compliance with patients diverted to WMS, though this is largely attributed to incomplete recording of vital signs; direct protocol violations were low. The protocol provides high levels of safety for patients diverted to WMS. Broader implementation of the protocol could reduce the volume of intoxicated patients seen in the ED, and improve quality of care received by this population.

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P019: Prehospital diversion of intoxicated patients to a detoxification facility vs the emergency department: safety and compliance of an EMS direct transport protocol

  • V. Bismah (a1), J. Prpic (a1), S. Michaud (a1) and N. Sykes (a1)

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