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The scarcity of Romano-British human remains from north-west England has hindered understanding of burial practice in this region. Here, we report on the excavation of human and non-human animal remains1 and material culture from Dog Hole Cave, Haverbrack. Foetal and neonatal infants had been interred alongside a horse burial and puppies, lambs, calves and piglets in the very latest Iron Age to early Romano-British period, while the mid- to late Roman period is characterised by burials of older individuals with copper-alloy jewellery and beads. This material culture is more characteristic of urban sites, while isotope analysis indicates that the later individuals were largely from the local area. We discuss these results in terms of burial ritual in Cumbria and rural acculturation. Supplementary material is available online (https://doi.org/10.1017/S0068113X20000136), and contains further information about the site and excavations, small finds, zooarchaeology, human osteology, site taphonomy, the palaeoenvironment, isotope methods and analysis, and finds listed in Benson and Bland 1963.
Our study objective was to describe the Canadian emergency medicine (EM) research community landscape prior to the initiation of a nationwide network.
A two-phase electronic survey was sent to 17 Canadian medical schools. The Phase 1 Environmental Scan was administered to department chairs/hospital EM chiefs, to identify EM physicians conducting clinical or educational research. The Phase 2 Survey was sent to the identified EM researchers to assess four themes: 1) geographic distribution, 2) training/career satisfaction, 3) time/financial compensation, and 4) research facilitators/barriers. Descriptive analyses were conducted, and results were stratified by Canadian regions.
A total of 92 EM researchers were identified in Phase 1; 67 (73%) responded to the Phase 2 Survey. Of those, 42 (63%) reported being clinical researchers, and 19 (45%) had a graduate degree. Three provinces encompassed most of the researchers (n = 35). Of the respondents, 61% had a research degree, 66% felt adequately trained for their research career, 73% had financial support, 83% had access to office spaces, 52% had no mentor during their first years of their career, 69% felt satisfied with their research career, and 82% suggested that they will still be conducting research in 5 years.
EM researchers reported being adequately trained, even though only a little over half had a graduate degree. Only two-thirds had financial support, and mentorship was lacking in one-third of the participants. Not all respondents had a form of infrastructure, but most felt optimistic about their careers. The Canadian EM research environment could be improved to ensure better research capacity.
Introduction: Acute pharyngitis is a common emergency department (ED) presentation. The Centor (Modified/McIsaac) score uses five criteria (age, tonsillar exudates, swollen tender anterior cervical nodes, absence of a cough, and history of fever) to predict Group A Streptococcus (GAS) infection. The recommendation is patients with a Centor score of 0-1 should not undergo testing and should not be given antibiotics, patients with a score of 2-3 may warrant throat cultures, and for patients with a score ≥ 4, empiric antibiotics may be appropriate. Associated pain is often first managed with acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, however recent evidence suggests a short course of low-to-moderate dose corticosteroids as adjunctive therapy may reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. The objective of this study was to describe the ED management of acute pharyngitis for adult patients presenting to an academic ED over a two-year study period. Methods: This was a retrospective chart review of all adult (> 17 years) patients presenting to Mount Sinai Hospital ED with a discharge diagnosis of acute pharyngitis (ICD-10 code J02.9) from January 1st 2016 to December 31st 2018. Trained research personnel reviewed medical records and extracted data using a computerized, data abstraction form. Results: Of the 638 patients included in the study, 286 (44.8%) had a Centor score of 0-1, 328 (51.4%) had a score of 2-3, and 24 (3.8%) had a score of ≥ 4. Of those with a Centor score of 0-1, 83 (29.0%) had a throat culture, 88 (30.8%) were prescribed antibiotics, 15 (5.2%) were positive for GAS and 74 (25.9%) were given corticosteroids in the ED or at discharge. Of those with a Centor score of 2-3, 156 (47.6%) had a throat culture, 220 (67.1%) were prescribed antibiotics, 44 (13.4%) were positive for GAS, and 145 (44.2%) were given corticosteroids. Of those with a Centor score ≥ 4, 14 (58.3%) had a throat culture, 18 (75.0%) were prescribed antibiotics, 7 (29.2%) were positive for GAS and 12 (50.0%) were given corticosteroids. Conclusion: As predicted, a higher Centor score was associated with higher risk of GAS infection, increased antibiotic prescribing and use of corticosteroids. Many patients with low Centor scores were prescribed antibiotics and also had throat cultures. Further work is required to understand clinical decision making for the management of acute pharyngitis.
Introduction: Affecting roughly 1 in 5 pregnancies, early pregnancy loss is a common experience for reproductive-aged women. In Canada, most women do not establish care with an obstetrical provider until the second trimester of pregnancy. Consequently, pregnant patients experiencing symptoms of early pregnancy loss frequently access care in the emergency department (ED). The objective of this study was to describe the resource utilization and outcomes of women presenting to two Ontario EDs for early pregnancy loss or threatened early pregnancy loss. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of pregnant (≤20 weeks), adult (≥18 years) women in two EDs (one community hospital with 110,000 annual ED visits; one academic hospital with 65,000 annual ED visits) between January 2010 and December 2017. Patients were identified by diagnostic codes indicating early pregnancy loss or threatened early pregnancy loss. Results: A total of 16,091 patients were included, with a mean (SD) age of 32.8 (5.6) years. Patients had a total of 22,410 ED visits for early pregnancy complications, accounting for 1.6% of the EDs’ combined visits during the study period. Threatened abortion (n = 11,265, 50.3%) was the most common ED diagnosis, followed by spontaneous abortion (n = 5,652, 25.2%), ectopic pregnancy (n = 3,242, 14.5%), missed abortion (n = 1,541, 6.9%), and other diagnoses (n = 710, 3.2%). 8,000 (44.8%) patients had a radiologist-interpreted ultrasound performed during the initial ED visit. Median (IQR) ED length of stay was 3.4 (2.3 to 5.1) hours. There were 4,561 (25.6%) return ED visits within 30 days, of which 2,317 (50.8%) occurred less than 24 hours of index visit, and 481 (10.6%) were for scheduled, next day ultrasound. The total number of hospital admissions was 1,793 (8.0%), and the majority were for ectopic pregnancy (n = 1,052, 58.7%). Of admitted patients, 1,320 (73.6%) underwent surgical interventions related to early pregnancy. There were 474 (10.4%) patients admitted to hospital during return ED visits. Conclusion: Pregnant patients experiencing symptoms of early pregnancy loss in the ED frequently had radiologist-interpreted US and low rates of hospital admission, yet had high rates of return ED visits. This study highlights the heavy reliance on Ontario EDs to care for patients experiencing complications of early pregnancy.
Introduction: The emergency department (ED) is often the first point of health care contact for patients with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). Spontaneous resolution occurs in most patients within 7 days, yet 15-30% will develop post-concussion syndrome (PCS). Given the paucity of effective management strategies to prevent PCS and emerging evidence supporting exercise, the objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of prescribed early light exercise compared to standard discharge instructions for acute MTBI patients in the ED. Methods: This was a randomized controlled trial conducted in three Canadian EDs. Consecutive, adult (18-64 years) ED patients with a MTBI sustained within the preceding 48 hours were eligible for enrollment. The intervention group received discharge instructions prescribing 30 minutes of daily light exercise (e.g., walking), and the control group was given standard MTBI instructions advising gradual return to exercise following symptom resolution. Participants documented their daily physical activities and completed follow-up questionnaires at 7, 14, and 30 days. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients with PCS at 30 days, defined as the presence of ≥ 3 symptoms on the Rivermead Post-concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPQ) at 30 days. Results: 367 patients were enrolled (control n = 184; intervention n = 183). Median age was 32 years and 201 (57.6%) were female. There was no difference in the proportion of patients with PCS at 30 days (control 13.4 vs intervention 14.6; Δ1.2, 95% CI: -6.2 to 8.5). There were no differences in median change of RPQ scores (control 14 vs intervention 13; Δ1, 95% CI: -1 to 4), median number of return health care provider visits (control 1 vs intervention 1; Δ0, 95% CI: 0 to 0), or median number of missed school or work days (control 2 vs intervention 2; Δ0, 95% CI: 0 to 1) at 30 days. There was a nonsignificant difference in unplanned return ED visits within 30 days (control 9.9% vs intervention 5.6%; Δ1, 95% CI: -1.4 to 10.3). Participants in the control group reported fewer minutes of light exercise at 7 days (30 vs 35; Δ5, 95% CI: 2 to 15). Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first randomized trial of prescribed early light exercise for adults with acute MTBI. There were no differences in recovery or healthcare utilization outcomes. Results suggest prescribed early light exercise should be encouraged as tolerated at ED discharge following MTBI, but exercise prescription alone is not sufficient to prevent PCS.
Introduction: eCTAS is a real time electronic triage decision-support tool designed to improve patient safety and quality of care by standardizing the application of the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS). The tool dynamically calculates a recommended CTAS score based on the presenting complaint, vital signs and selected clinical modifiers. The primary objective was to assess consistency of CTAS score distributions across 35 emergency departments (EDs) by 16 presenting complaints pre and post eCTAS implementation. Methods: This retrospective cohort study used population-based administrative data from January 2016 to December 2018 from all hospital EDs in Ontario that had implemented eCTAS with at least 9 months of data. Following a 3-month stabilization period, we compared data for 6 months post-eCTAS implementation to the same 6-month period the previous year (pre-implementation) to account for potential seasonal variation, patient volume and case-mix. We included triage encounters of adult (≥18 years) patients if they had one of 16 pre-specified high-volume, presenting complaints. A paired-samples t-test was used to determine consistency by estimating the absolute difference in CTAS distribution for each presenting complaint, by each hospital, pre and post eCTAS implementation, compared to the overall average of the 35 EDs. Results: There were 183,231 triage encounters in the pre-eCTAS cohort and 179,983 in the post-eCTAS cohort from 35 EDs across the province. Triage scores were more consistent with the overall average after eCTAS implementation in 6 (37.5%) presenting complaints: chest pain (cardiac features) (p < 0.001), extremity weakness/symptoms of cerebrovascular accident (p < 0.001), fever (p < 0.001), shortness of breath (p < 0.001), syncope (p = 0.02), and hyperglycemia (p = 0.03). Triage consistency was similar pre and post eCTAS implementation for the presenting complaints of altered level of consciousness, anxiety/situational crisis, confusion, depression/suicidal/deliberate self-harm, general weakness, head injury, palpitations, seizure, substance misuse/intoxication or vertigo. Conclusion: A standardized, electronic approach to performing triage assessments increased consistency in CTAS scores across many, but not all, high-volume CEDIS complaints. This does not reflect triage accuracy, as there are no known benchmarks for triage accuracy. Improvements in consistency were greatest for sentinel presenting complaints with a minimum allowable CTAS score.
Introduction: The Maximizing Aging Using Volunteer Engagement in the ED (MAUVE + ED) program connects specially trained volunteers with older patients whose personal and social needs are not always met within the busy ED environment. The objective of this study was to describe the development and implementation of the MAUVE + ED program and the activities performed with older patients by its volunteers. Methods: The MAUVE + ED program was implemented in the ED (annual census 65,000) of a large academic tertiary hospital in Toronto, Ontario. Volunteers were trained to identify and approach older patients and others at greater risk for adverse outcomes, including poor patient experience, in the ED and invite such patients to participate in the program. The program is available to all patients >65 years, and those with confusion, patients who were alone, those with mobility issues, and patients with increased length of stay in the ED. Volunteers documented their activities after each patient encounter using a standardized paper-based data collection form. Results: Over the program's initial 6-month period, the MAUVE + ED volunteers reported a total of 896 encounters with 718 unique patients. The median (IQR) time a MAUVE volunteer spent with a patient was 10 (5, 20) minutes, with a range of 1 to 130 minutes. The median (IQR) number of patients seen per shift was 7 (6, 9), with a range of 1 to 16 patients per shift. The most common activities the volunteer assisted with were therapeutic activities/social visits (n = 859; 95.9%), orientation activities (n = 501; 55.9%), and hydration assistance (n = 231; 25.8%). The least common were mobility assistance (n = 36; 4.0%), and vision/hearing assistance (n = 13; 1.5%). Conclusion: Preliminary data suggest the MAUVE + ED volunteers were able to enrich the experience of older adults and their families/carers in the ED.
Introduction: The opioid crisis has reached epidemic levels in Canada, driven in large part by prescription drug use. Emergency physicians are frequent prescribers of opioids; therefore, the emergency department (ED) represents an important setting for potential intervention to encourage rational and safe prescribing. The objective of this study was to systematically review the literature on interventions aimed to influence opioid prescribing in the ED. Methods: Electronic searches of Medline and Cochrane were conducted and reference lists were hand-searched. All quantitative studies published in English from 2009 to 2019 were eligible for inclusion. Two reviewers independently screened the search output to identify potentially eligible studies, the full texts of which were retrieved and assessed for inclusion. Outcomes of interest included opioid prescribing rate (proportion of ED visits resulting in an opioid prescription at discharge), morphine milligram equivalents per prescription and variability among prescribers. Results: The search strategy yielded 797 potentially relevant citations. After eliminating duplicate citations and studies that did not meet eligibility criteria, 34 potentially relevant studies were retrieved in full text. Of these, 28 studies were included in the review. The majority (26, 92.9%) of studies were based in the United States and two (7.1%) were from Australia. Four (14.3%) were randomized controlled trials. The interventions were classified into six categories: prescribing guidelines (n = 10), regulation/rescheduling of opioids (n = 6), prescribing data transparency (n = 4), education (n = 4), care coordination (n = 3), and electronic medical record changes (n = 1). The majority of interventions reduced the opioid prescribing rate from the ED (21/28, 75.0%), although regulation/rescheduling of opioids had mixed effectiveness, with 3/6 (50%) studies reporting a small increase in the opioid prescribing rate post-intervention. Education had small yet consistent effects on reducing the opioid prescribing rate. Conclusion: A variety of interventions have attempted to improve opioid prescribing from the ED. These interventions include prescribing guidelines, regulation/rescheduling, data transparency, education, care coordination, and electronic medical record changes. The majority of interventions reduced the opioid prescribing rate; however, regulation/rescheduling of opioids demonstrated mixed effectiveness.
Introduction: Participant interviews are often considered the ‘gold standard’ for measuring outcomes in diagnostic and prognostic studies. Participant exposure data are frequently collected during study interviews, but the reliability of this information often remains unknown. The objective of this study was to compare patient-reported medication exposures and outcomes to data extracted from electronic medical records (EMRs) to determine reliability. Methods: This was a secondary data analysis from a prospective observational cohort study enrolling older (≥ 65 years) patients who presented to one of three emergency departments after a fall. After patients had consented to participate in the study, they were asked about their use of antiplatelet and anticoagulation medications (exposures of interest). During follow up, participants were asked if a physician had told them they had bleeding in their head (diagnosis of intracranial hemorrhage). Patient-reported responses were compared to data extracted from a structured EMR review. Trained research assistants extracted medication exposure and outcome data from the hospital EMRs in duplicate for all visits to any hospital within 42 days. Inter-rater agreement was estimated using Cohen's kappa (K) statistics with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: 1275 patients completed study interviews. 1163 (91%) responded to questioning about antiplatelet use and 1159 (91%) to anticoagulant use. Exact agreement between patient reported antiplatelet use compared to EMR review was 77%, with K = 0.50 (95% CI: 0.44 to 0.55). For anticoagulation use, exact agreement was 87%, with K = 0.68 (95% CI: 0.63 to 0.72). 986 (78%) patients had a follow up interview after 42 days. Exact agreement between patient reported intracranial bleeding and EMR review was 95%, with K = 0.30 (95% CI: 0.15 to 0.45). Using the EMR review as the reference standard, the sensitivity and specificity of patient reported intracranial bleeding was 34% (95% CI: 20 to 52%) and 97% (95% CI: 96 to 98%), respectively. Conclusion: In this population of older adults who presented to the ED after a fall, patient reported use of antiplatelet and anticoagulant medications was not a reliable method to identify medication use. Patients who were diagnosed with intracranial bleeding were particularly poor at reporting this diagnosis.
Introduction: Despite recent advances in resuscitation, some patients remain in ventricular fibrillation (VF) after multiple defibrillation attempts during out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Vector change defibrillation (VC) and double sequential external defibrillation (DSED) have been proposed as alternate therapeutic strategies for OHCA patients with refractory VF. The primary objective was to determine the feasibility, safety and sample size required for a future cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) with crossover comparing VC or DSED to standard defibrillation for patients experiencing refractory VF. Secondary objectives were to evaluate the intervention effect on VF termination and return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). Methods: We conducted a pilot cluster RCT with crossover in four Canadian paramedic services and included all treated adult OHCA patients who presented in VF and received a minimum of three defibrillation attempts. In addition to standard cardiac arrest care, each EMS service was randomly assigned to provide continued standard defibrillation (control), VC or DSED. Services crossed over to an alternate defibrillation strategy after six months. Prior to the launch of the trial, 2,500 paramedics received in-person training for VC and DSED defibrillation using a combination of didactic, video and simulated scenarios. Results: Between March 2018 and September 2019, 152 patients were enrolled. Monthly enrollment varied from 1.4 to 6.1 cases per service. With respect to feasibility, 89.5% of cases received the defibrillation strategy they were randomly allocated to, and 93.1% of cases received a VC or DSED shock prior to the sixth defibrillation attempt. There were no reported cases of defibrillator malfunction, skin burns, difficulty with pad placement or concerns expressed by paramedics, patients, families, or ED staff about the trial. In the standard defibrillation group, 66.6% of cases resulted in VF termination, compared to 82.0% in VC and 76.3% of cases in the DSED group. ROSC was achieved in 25.0%, 39.3% and 40.0% of standard, VC and DSED groups, respectively. Conclusion: Findings from our pilot RCT suggest the DOSE VF protocol is feasible and safe. VF termination and ROSC were higher with VC and DSED compared to standard defibrillation. The results of this pilot trial will allow us to inform a multicenter cluster RCT with crossover to determine if alternate defibrillation strategies for refractory VF may impact patient-centered, clinical outcomes
Introduction: Acute heart failure (AHF) is a common emergency department (ED) presentation and may be associated with poor outcomes. Conversely, many patients rapidly improve with ED treatment and may not need hospital admission. Because there is little evidence to guide disposition decisions by ED and admitting physicians, we sought to create a risk score for predicting short-term serious outcomes (SSO) in patients with AHF. Methods: We conducted prospective cohort studies at 9 tertiary care hospital EDs from 2007 to 2019, and enrolled adult patients who required treatment for AHF. Each patient was assessed for standardized real-time clinical and laboratory variables, as well as for SSO (defined as death within 30 days or intubation, non-invasive ventilation (NIV), myocardial infarction, coronary bypass surgery, or new hemodialysis after admission). The fully pre-specified, logistic regression model with 13 predictors (age, pCO2, and SaO2 were modeled using spline functions with 3 knots and heart rate and creatinine with 5 knots) was fitted to the 10 multiple imputation datasets. Harrell's fast stepdown procedure reduced the number of variables. We calculated the potential impact on sensitivity (95% CI) for SSO and hospital admissions and estimated a sample size of 170 SSOs. Results: The 2,246 patients had mean age 77.4 years, male sex 54.5%, EMS arrival 41.1%, IV NTG 3.1%, ED NIV 5.2%, admission on initial visit 48.6%. Overall there were 174 (7.8%) SSOs including 70 deaths (3.1%). The final risk scale is comprised of five variables (points) and had c-statistic of 0.76 (95% CI: 0.73-0.80): 1.Valvular heart disease (1) 2.ED non-invasive ventilation (2) 3.Creatinine 150-300 (1) ≥300 (2) 4.Troponin 2x-4x URL (1) ≥5x URL (2) 5.Walk test failed (2) The probability of SSO ranged from 2.0% for a total score of 0 to 90.2% for a score of 10, showing good calibration. The model was stable over 1,000 bootstrap samples. Choosing a risk model total point admission threshold of >2 would yield a sensitivity of 80.5% (95% CI 73.9-86.1) for SSO with no change in admissions from current practice (48.6% vs 48.7%). Conclusion: Using a large prospectively collected dataset, we created a concise and sensitive risk scale to assist with admission decisions for patients with AHF in the ED. Implementation of this risk scoring scale should lead to safer and more efficient disposition decisions, with more high-risk patients being admitted and more low-risk patients being discharged.
Introduction: Time-to-treatment plays a pivotal role in survival from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Every minute delay in defibrillation results in a 7-10% reduction in survival. This is particularly problematic in rural and remote regions, where bystander and EMS response is often prolonged and automated external defibrillators (AED) are often not available. Our objective was to examine the feasibility of a novel AED drone delivery method for rural and remote SCA. A secondary objective was to compare times between AED drone delivery and ambulance response to various mock SCA resuscitations. Methods: We conducted 6 simulations in two different rural communities in southern Ontario. During phase 1 (4 simulations) a “mock” call was placed to 911 and a single AED drone and an ambulance were simultaneously dispatched from the same location to a pre-determined destination. Once on scene, trained first responders retrieved the AED from the drone and initiated resuscitative efforts on a manikin. The second phase (2 scenarios) were done in a similar manner save for the drone being dispatched from a regionally optimized location for drone response. Results: Phase 1: The distance from dispatch location to scene varied from 6.6 km to 8.8 km. Mean (SD) response time from 911 call to scene arrival was 11.2 (+/- 1.0) minutes for EMS compared to 8.1 (+/- 0.1) for AED drone delivery. In all four simulations, the AED drone arrived before EMS, ranging from 2.1 to 4.4 minutes faster. The mean time for trained responders to retrieve the AED and apply it to the manikin was 35 (+/- 5) sec. No difficulties were encountered in drone activation by dispatch, drone lift off, landing or removal of the AED from the drone by responders. Phase 2: The ambulance response distance was 20km compared to 9km for the drone. Drones were faster to arrival at the scene by 7 minutes and 8 minutes with AED application 6 and 7 minutes prior to ambulance respectively. Conclusion: This implementation study suggests AED drone delivery is feasible with improvements in response time during a simulated SCA scenario. These results suggest the potential for AED drone delivery to decrease time to first defibrillation in rural and remote communities. Further research is required to determine the appropriate distance for drone delivery of an AED in an integrated EMS system as well as optimal strategies to simplify bystander application of a drone delivered AED.
Introduction: Emergency department (ED) boarding is associated with worse outcomes for critically ill patients. There have been mixed findings in other patient populations. The primary objective of this study was to examine predictors of prolonged ED boarding among cancer patients receiving chemotherapy who required hospital admission from the ED. Secondary objectives were to examine the association between prolonged ED boarding and in-hospital mortality, 30-day mortality, and hospital length of stay (LOS). Methods: Using administrative databases from Ontario, we identified adult (≥ 18 years) cancer patients who received chemotherapy within 30 days prior to a hospital admission from the ED between 2013 to 2017. ED boarding time was calculated as the time from the decision to admit the patient to when the patient physically left the ED. Prolonged ED boarding was defined as ≥ 8 hours. Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine predictors of prolonged ED boarding and to determine if prolonged boarding was associated with mortality. Multivariable quantile regression was used to determine the association between prolonged boarding and hospital LOS. Results: 45,879 patients were included in the study. Median (interquartile range (IQR)) ED LOS of stay was 11.8 (7.0, 21.7) hours and median (IQR) ED boarding time was 4.2 (1.6, 14.2) hours. 17,053 (37.2%) patients had prolonged ED boarding. Severe ED crowding was the strongest predictor of prolonged ED boarding (odds ratio: 17.7, 95% CI: 15.0 to 20.9). Prolonged ED boarding was not associated with in-hospital mortality or 30-day mortality. Median hospital LOS was over 9 hours (p <0.0001) longer among patients with the longest ED boarding times. Conclusion: Severe ED crowding was associated with a significant increase in the odds of prolonged ED boarding. While our study demonstrated that prolonged boarding was not associated with increased mortality, further work is required to understand if ED boarding is associated with other adverse outcomes in this immunocompromised population.
Introduction: The majority of first trimester pregnancy care in Canada is provided by family physicians and emergency departments (EDs). Early pregnancy loss occurs in approximately 30% of pregnancies, and the majority take place in first trimester when many patients do not yet have an obstetrical care provider. In Ontario, nearly 70% of patients are rostered to a family physician, many of whom practice in Family Health Teams (FHTs). The objective of this study was to determine how Ontario family physicians manage early pregnancy complications and explore the services available for patients experiencing early pregnancy loss or threatened early pregnancy loss. Methods: Family physician leads from 104 Ontario FHTs were contacted by email and invited to complete a 19-item, online questionnaire using modified Dillman methodology. The survey was developed by investigators based on a review of relevant literature and consultation with clinical experts. Prior to distribution, the questionnaire was peer reviewed and tested for face and construct validity, as well as ease of comprehension. Results: Respondents from 50 FHTs across Ontario completed the survey (response rate 48.1%). Of the respondents, 45 (90.0%) reported access to an ED in their community, 45 (90.0%) had access to an obstetrician/gynecologist, 33 (66.0%) had access to an early pregnancy clinic, and 18 (36.0%) reported comprehensive obstetrical care from first trimester to delivery within their FHT. The following services were only accessible through the ED: administration of RhoGAM (n = 28; 56.0%); surgical management of spontaneous or missed abortion (n = 22; 44.0%); same day serum quantitative beta human chorionic gonadotropin (n = 21; 42.0%); same day radiologist-interpreted ultrasound assessment (n = 15; 30.0%); and medical management of spontaneous or missed abortion (n = 12; 24.0%). Forty (80.0%) respondents stated physicians in their practice would provide urgent follow-up care for patients with spontaneous abortion, 35 (70.0%) would provide care for threatened abortion, and 26 (52.0%) would provide urgent care for missed abortion. For patients with a stable ectopic pregnancy, 37 (74.0%) respondents would refer to the ED. Conclusion: This study suggests FHTs in Ontario provide comprehensive care to patients with uncomplicated early pregnancy loss such as spontaneous abortion, yet rely on the ED for management of complicated early pregnancy loss, when medical or surgical management is indicated or for ectopic pregnancy.
Introduction: Women experiencing early pregnancy loss or threatened loss frequently seek care in emergency departments (ED) or early pregnancy clinics (EPC). The dearth of existing qualitative studies has left understudied questions about how these women perceive their healthcare and which strategies best meet their supportive care needs, particularly in the Canadian context. The objective of this study was to deepen our understanding of these women's experiences and gain insight into how clinicians and healthcare services can lessen the impact of this traumatic event on patients and their families. Methods: We conducted a descriptive qualitative study of women who presented to the ED or EPC at an urban tertiary care hospital and an urban community hospital for early pregnancy loss or threatened loss. Purposive sampling was used to recruit patients for in-depth, one-on-one telephone interviews conducted 4-6 weeks after the index visit. Data collection and analysis were concurrent and continued until thematic saturation had occurred. Data analysis was led by two qualitative researchers with support from a multi-disciplinary research team following standard thematic analysis techniques. Results: Interviews were completed with 59 women between July 2018 and August 2019. Participants ranged in age from 22 to 47 years and reflect the diversity of the multicultural city where the study occurred. Our analysis revealed that the medicalization and normalization of early pregnancy complications among ED and EPC clinicians is at odds with women's general lack of knowledge about the frequency, personal risk, causation, duration, and physical intensity of the miscarriage experience. Women identified the value of rapid access to appointments, point of care ultrasound, detailed care plans, and knowledgeable advice as key to lessening the physical and emotional trauma related to early pregnancy loss. Conclusion: This research highlights the physical, emotional, and psychological complexity of a medical situation frequently minimized within the current healthcare system. The results impart important knowledge about which aspects of ED and EPC care are most valued by women experiencing early pregnancy loss or threatened loss and demonstrate the clear need for women and their families to be provided with more education about the totality of the early pregnancy experience, including the possibility of pregnancy complications and loss.
Introduction: The emergency department (ED) is the first point of health care contact for most head injured patients. Although early and spontaneous resolution occurs in most patients with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), between 15-30% develop post-concussion syndrome (PCS). To date, clinical prediction tools do not yet exist to accurately identify adult MTBI patients at risk of PCS. The objective of this study was to identify predictors of PCS within 30 days in adults with acute MTBI presenting to the ED. Methods: This was a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial conducted in three Canadian EDs evaluating prescribed light exercise compared to standard care. Adult (18-64 years) patients with a MTBI sustained within the preceding 48 hours were eligible for enrollment. Participants completed follow-up questionnaires at 7, 14, and 30 days. The primary outcome was the presence of PCS at 30 days, defined as the presence of ≥ 3 symptoms on the Rivermead Post-concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPQ) at 30 days. Backward, stepwise, multivariable logistic regression with a removal criterion probability of 0.05 was conducted to determine predictor variables independently associated with PCS at 30 days. Likelihood ratio tests were used to determine appropriate inclusion of variables in the multivariable model. Results are reported as odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: A total of 367 patients were enrolled, 18 (4.9%) withdrew, and 108 (29.4%) were lost to follow-up. Median (IQR) age was 32 (25 to 48) years, and 201 (57.6%) were female. Of the 241 patients who completed follow-up, 49 (20.3%) had PCS at 30 days. Headache at ED presentation (OR = 6.59; 95% CI: 1.31 to 33.11), being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of injury (OR = 4.42; 95% CI: 1.31 to 14.88), the injury occurring via bike or motor vehicle collision (OR = 2.98; 95% CI: 1.39 to 6.40), history of anxiety or depression (OR = 2.49; 95% CI: 1.23 to 5.03), and the sensation of numbness or tingling at ED presentation (OR = 2.25; 95% CI: 1.04 to 4.88), were independently associated with PCS at 30 days. Conclusion: Five variables were found to be significant predictors of PCS. Although MTBI is a self-limited condition in the majority of patients, patients with these risk factors should be considered high risk and flagged for early follow-up. There continues to be an urgent need for a clinical prognostic tool that accurately identifies adult patients at risk for PCS early in their injury.
The Maximizing Aging Using Volunteer Engagement in the Emergency Department (MAUVE + ED) program connects specially trained volunteers with older patients whose personal and social needs are not always met within the busy ED environment. The objective of this study was to describe the development and implementation of the MAUVE + ED program.
Volunteers were trained to identify and approach older patients at risk for adverse outcomes, including poor patient experience, and invite such patients to participate in the program. The program is available to all patients >65 years, and those with confusion, patients who were alone, those with mobility issues, and patients with increased length of stay in the ED. Volunteers documented their activities after each patient encounter using a standardized paper-based data collection form.
Over the program's initial 6-month period, the MAUVE + ED volunteers reported a total of 896 encounters with 718 unique patients. The median time (interquartile range [IQR]) a MAUVE volunteer spent with a patient was 10 minutes (IQR = 5, 20), with a range of 1 to 130 minutes. The median number of patients seen per shift was 7 (IQR = 6, 9), with a range of 1 to 16 patients per shift. The most common activities the volunteer assisted with were therapeutic activities/social visits (n = 859; 95.9%), orientation activities (n = 501; 55.9%), and hydration assistance (n = 231; 25.8%). The least common were mobility assistance (n = 36; 4.0%), and vision/hearing assistance (n = 13; 1.5%).
Preliminary data suggest the MAUVE + ED volunteers were able to provide additional care to older adults and their families/carers in the ED.
The Bipolar Functional Status Questionnaire (BFSQ) is a novel patient-reported instrument designed to assess day-to-day functioning among patients with bipolar disorder. The development and psychometric evaluation of the BFSQ are described.
Constructs of the BFSQ were identified through literature review, expert consultation, and patient interviews. Iterative sets of interviews with additional patients were conducted to inform item reduction and revisions. 596 patients completed the BFSQ and a series of other patient- and clinician-reported health assessments during a multi-site validation study. Participants included three patient groups: 148 patients who were hypomanic or recently recovered from a manic episode within the last month, 215 patients who were currently depressed or recently recovered from a dysthymic episode within the last month, and 233 patients whose mood had been stable for a minimum of 2 months. Test-retest was assessed in 187 stable patients using data from a second administration. Additional analysis evaluated the factor structure, internal consistency, reliability, and validity.
Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses indicated that a one-factor structure best fit the data, providing support for a total score. Item-level descriptive statistics, Cronbach's alphas, and validity correlations all met standard criteria. Furthermore, the BFSQ demonstrated superior ability to discriminate among the three subgroups.
The BFSQ is a psychometrically sound measure of functional status among bipolar patients. Efforts are underway to gather evidence for its responsiveness. The ultimate goal is for the BFSQ to facilitate the identification of treatments, which maximize functional status and ultimately improve patient adherence to treatment.
Some accounts of the fiduciary relationship place trust and autonomy at odds with one another, so that trusting a fiduciary to act on one’s behalf reduces one’s ability to be autonomous. In this chapter, we critique this view of the fiduciary relationship (particularly bilateral instances of this relationship) using contemporary work on autonomy and ‘relational autonomy’. Theories of relational autonomy emphasize the role that interpersonal trust and social relationships play in supporting or hampering one’s ability to act autonomously. We argue that fiduciary relationships, understood through the lens of relational autonomy, can provide a means of enhancing, rather than diminishing, beneficiaries’ autonomy.
When the UK Parliament's Climate Change Act 2008 (CCA) was passed into law it was the first time a country employed national framework legislation to impose economy-wide legally binding long-term emissions reduction targets upon itself in the interest of combatting climate change. One should not over- simplify the drivers behind the CCA's creation by reducing them purely to a response to challenges posed by anthropogenic climate change. Geopolitical concerns pertaining to the issue of UK energy security also acted as a substantial regime driver. Nevertheless, the contribution of this pioneering framework has been widely – and deservedly – recognised. Despite its imperfections, it is ‘one of the most important items of legislation passed by any national Parliament in the world in modern times.’
This chapter starts by reviewing the background to the adoption of the CCA (Section 2). It continues by outlining the Act's main features (Section 3). It then provides evaluative reflection and comment on the legal research analysing it (Section 4). In doing so, it also addresses and comments on ways forward for the literature. Finally, it ends with some concluding remarks (Section 5).
BACKGROUND TO THE ADOPTION OF THE CLIMATE CHANGE ACT
The CCA was passed by the UK Parliament on 26 November 2008. In implementing the framework legislation, the UK supplanted a soft policy- oriented regime with a more substantial and robust statutory one. The socio- political background and internal conditions that generated the emergence of the framework were complex. It should also be noted that this particular type of legislative scheme was relatively novel and radical in the context of conventional UK law-making at the time, and that it remains so today.