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The Breathing Problems Chief Complaint (CC) protocol in the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) was the system's most frequently used protocol. While “severe breathing problems” is a significant predictor of cardiac arrest (CA), previous data have demonstrated that the DELTA-level determinant codes in this CC contain patients across a wide spectrum of acuity.
The hypothesis in this study was that certain combinations of caller answers to the breathing problems protocol key questions (KQs) are correlated with different but specific patient acuities.
This was a retrospective study conducted at one International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) Accredited Center of Excellence. Key Question combinations were generated and analyzed from 11 months of dispatch data, and extracted from MPDS software and the computer assisted dispatch system. Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate measures between study groups.
Forty-two thousand cases were recorded; 52% of patients were female and the median age was 61 years. Overall, based on the original MPDS Protocol (before generating KQ combinations), patients with abnormal breathing and clammy conditions were the youngest. The MPDS DELTA-level constituted the highest percentage of cases (74.0%) and the difficulty speaking between breaths (DSBB) condition was the most prevalent (50.3%). Ineffective breathing and not alert conditions had the highest cardiac arrest quotient (CAQ). Based on the KQ combinations, the CA patients who also had the not alert condition were significantly older than other patients. The percentage of CA outcomes in asthmatic patients was significantly higher in DSBB plus not alert; DSBB plus not alert plus changing color; and DSBB plus not alert plus clammy conditions cases, compared to asthmatic abnormal breathing cases.
The study findings demonstrated that MPDS KQ answer combinations relate to patient acuity. Cardiac arrest patients are significantly less likely to be asthmatic than those without CA, and vice versa. Using a prioritization scheme that accounts for the presence of either single or multiple signs and/or symptom combinations for the Breathing Problems CC protocol would be a more accurate method of assigning DELTA-level cases in the MPDS.
Clawson J, Barron T, Scott G, Siriwardena AN, Patterson B, Olola C. Medical Priority Dispatch System breathing problems protocol key question combinations are associated with patient acuity. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(4):1-6.
This study explored health visitors’ perception of their role in the universal childhood immunisation programme with particular emphasis on influencing factors and communication strategies.
The majority of parents’ consent to immunisation, but some find decision-making in this area difficult and have unmet information needs. In the United Kingdom, health visitors routinely provide immunisation information for parents, whereas general practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses tend to administer vaccines and respond to parents/carers’ questions. Research has investigated health professionals’ views and knowledge about immunisation, but less is understood about health visitors’ role and how they communicate with parents.
Following the Local Research Ethics and Research Governance permissions, all health visitors (n = 120) working in one county in the United Kingdom were invited to participate in the study. Semistructured interviews (n = 22) were undertaken using a prompt guide. The interviews were transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis using an iterative approach was used to explore the data facilitated by NVIVO™ software.
Five themes emerged from the interviews. These were health visitors’ professional role; identity and perceived barriers and communication strategies, parents’ right to choose, confidence in measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination and communicating with migrant families about immunisation. There were differences between the health visitors in their perceptions of their roles, skills and knowledge and communication strategies. Health visitors perceived that GPs and practice nurses took a paternalistic approach to the provision of immunisation information, while they used a parental decision-making model. Health visitors reported a loss of professional confidence following the MMR crisis.
Given the evidence that some parents find it difficult to gain the information they need about immunisation and health visitors’ acknowledgement that their usual communication models were not effective during the MMR crisis, we feel specific communication skills training is needed to enable health professionals to provide parents with appropriate decision support.
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