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To describe and explain psychiatrists' responses to metabolic abnormalities identified during screening. We carried out an audit of clinical records to assess rates of monitoring and follow-up practice. Semi-structured interviews with 36 psychiatrists followed by descriptive and thematic analyses were conducted.
Metabolic abnormalities were identified in 76% of eligible patients screened. Follow-up, recorded for 59%, was variable but more likely with four or more abnormalities. Psychiatrists endorse guidelines but ambivalence about responsibility, professional norms, resource constraints and skills deficits as well as patient factors influences practice. Therapeutic optimism and desire to be a ‘good doctor’ supported comprehensive follow-up.
Psychiatrists are willing to attend to physical healthcare, and obstacles to recommended practice are surmountable. Psychiatrists seek consensus among stakeholders about responsibilities and a systemic approach addressing the social determinants of health inequities. Understanding patients' expectations is critical to promoting best practice.
Diabetes mellitus, although a chronic disease, also can cause acute, sudden symptoms requiring emergency intervention. In these cases, Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMDs) must identify true diabetic complaints in order to determine the correct care. In 911 systems utilizing the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS), International Academies of Emergency Dispatch-certified EMDs determine a patient's chief complaint by matching the caller's response to an initial pre-scripted question to one of 37 possible chief complaints protocols. The ability of EMDs to identify true diabetic-triggered events reported through 911 has not been studied.
The primary objective of this study was to determine the percentage of EMD-recorded patient cases (using the Diabetic Problems protocol in the MPDS) that were confirmed by either attending paramedics or the hospital as experiencing a diabetic-triggered event.
This was a retrospective study involving six hospitals, one fire department, and one ambulance service in Salt Lake City, Utah USA. Dispatch data for one year recorded under the Diabetic Problems protocol, along with the associated paramedic and hospital outcome data, were reviewed/analyzed. The outcome measures were: the percentage of cases that had diabetic history, percentage of EMD-identified diabetic problems cases that were confirmed by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and/or hospital records as true diabetic-triggered events, and percentage of EMD-identified diabetic patients who also had other medical conditions. A diabetic-triggered event was defined as one in which the patient's emergency was directly caused by diabetes or its medical management. Descriptive statistics were used for categorical measures and parametric statistical methods assessed the differences between study groups, for continuous measures.
Three-hundred ninety-three patient cases were assigned to the Diabetic Problems Chief Complaint protocol. Of the 367 (93.4%) patients who had a documented history of diabetes, 279 (76%) were determined to have had a diabetic-triggered event. However, only 12 (3.6%) initially assigned to this protocol did not have a confirmed history of diabetes.
Using the MPDS to select the Diabetic Problems Chief Complaint protocol, the EMDs correctly identified a true diabetic-triggered event the majority of the time. However, many patients had other medical conditions, which complicated the initial classification of true diabetic-triggered events. Future studies should examine the associations between the five specific Diabetic Problems Chief Complaint protocol determinant codes (triage priority levels) and severity measures, eg, blood sugar level and Glasgow Coma Score.
ClawsonJ, ScottG, LloydW, PattersonB, BarronT, GardettI, OlolaC. Outcome Accuracy of the Emergency Medical Dispatcher's Initial Selection of a Diabetic Problems Protocol. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013:28(6):1-6.
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.
Knowing the pulse rate of a patient in a medical emergency can help to determine patient acuity and the level of medical care required. Little evidence exists regarding the ability of a 911 layperson-caller to accurately determine a conscious patient's pulse rate.
The hypothesis of this study was that, when instructed by a trained emergency medical dispatcher (EMD) using the scripted Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) protocol Pulse Check Diagnostic Tool (PCDxT), a layperson-caller can detect a carotid pulse and accurately determine the pulse rate in a conscious person.
This non-randomized and non-controlled prospective study was conducted at three different public locations in the state of Utah (USA). A healthy, mock patient's pulse rate was obtained using an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor. Layperson-callers, in turn, initiated a simulated 911 phone call to an EMD call-taker who provided instructions for determining the pulse rate of the patient. Layperson accuracy was assessed using correlations between the layperson-caller's finding and the ECG reading.
Two hundred sixty-eight layperson-callers participated; 248 (92.5%) found the pulse of the mock patient. There was a high correlation between pulse rates obtained using the ECG monitor and those found by the layperson-callers, overall (94.6%, P < .001), and by site, gender, and age.
Layperson-callers, when provided with expert, scripted instructions by a trained 911 dispatcher over the phone, can accurately determine the pulse rate of a conscious and healthy person. Improvements to the 911 instructions may further increase layperson accuracy.
Scott G, Clawson J, Rector M, Massengale D, Thompson M, Patterson B, Olola CHO. The accuracy of emergency medical dispatcher-assisted layperson-caller pulse check using the Medical Priority Dispatch System protocol. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(3):1-8.
Falls are one of the most common types of complaints received by 9-1-1 emergency medical dispatch centers. They can be accidental or may be caused by underlying medical problems. Though not alert” falls patients with severe outcomes mostly are “hot” transported to the hospital, some of these cases may be due to other acute medical events (cardiac, respiratory, circulatory, or neurological), which may not always be apparent to the emergency medical dispatcher (EMD) during call processing.
The objective of this study was to characterize the risk of cardiac arrest and “hot-transport” outcomes in patients with “not alert” condition, within the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS®) Falls protocol descriptors.
This retrospective study used 129 months of de-identified, aggregate, dispatch datasets from three US emergency communication centers. The communication centers used the Medical Priority Dispatch System version 11.3–OMEGA type (released in 2006) to interrogate Emergency Medical System callers, select dispatch codes assigned to various response configurations, and provide pre-arrival instructions. The distribution of cases and percentages of cardiac arrest and hot-transport outcomes, categorized by MPDS® code, was profiled. Assessment of the association between MPDS® Delta-level 3 (D-3) “not alert” condition and cardiac arrest and hot-transport outcomes then followed.
Overall, patients within the D-3 and D-2 “long fall” conditions had the highest proportions (compared to the other determinants in the “falls” protocol) of cardiac arrest and hot-transport outcomes, respectively. “Not alert” condition was associated significantly with cardiac arrest and hot-transport outcomes (p < 0.001).
The “not alert” determinant within the MPDS® “fall” protocol was associated significantly with severe outcomes for short falls (<6 feet; 2 meters) and ground-level falls. As reported to 9-1-1, the complaint of a “fall” may include the presence of underlying conditions that go beyond the obvious traumatic injuries caused by the fall itself.
The impact of a cancer experience during emerging adulthood (18–25 years of age) is an under-studied phenomenon, with research on young people typically focussing on children or adolescents. Needs-based research on this population is even scarcer. This study sought to ascertain the most commonly-unmet needs of emerging adults with cancer, in various stages of time-since-treatment, and to investigate links to psychological functioning.
Using an earlier version of a needs-based questionnaire, presently under development, as well as additional items developed specifically for this age group, the ten most unmet needs were determined for 63 emerging adults in each of the following three groups: those on or within one year since treatment; those between one and five years since treatment; and those beyond five years since treatment. Psychological functioning was measured by the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS-21).
On average, participants rated 17.7 of the 132 needs as unmet. The 10 most unmet needs for each group generated a distinct picture of how needs change as time-since-treatment increases. For those at or within one year since treatment, there were a number of unmet needs directly related to health care provision and the hospital experience. For those whose treatment was more than one year previous, the most unmet needs were more focussed on emotional/psychological issues, particularly related to survivorship and life direction. Positive correlations were found between the number of unmet needs and levels of anxiety and stress.
Significance of results:
The results of the present study provide quantitative needs-based information about emerging adults with cancer, in the context of their treatment situation. This enables health care providers to better support the emerging adult with cancer in ways that are age-appropriate and time-sensitive. The persisting levels of unmet needs and psychological distress beyond five years since treatment underscore the importance of long-term follow-up and support.
A common chief complaint to emergency dispatch communication centers worldwide is “breathing problems”. The chief complaint of breathing problems represents a wide spectrum of underlying diseases, patient conditions, and onset types. The current debate is on the potential ability of a dispatch protocol to safely and with high specificity, differentiate patients with minor or non-critical conditions from those conditions that pose risk to the patient and require advanced life support evaluation and care. This issue also has extended into the paramedic prehospital evaluation realm.
The objective of this study was to describe the distribution of Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) codes representing the spectrum of clinical descriptions within the breathing problems chief complaint and their associated outcomes, at the scene and during transport, as determined by [UK] paramedics.
A retrospective, one-year study (September 2005 to August 2006) of a de-identified aggregate dataset from the London Ambulance Service (LAS) Trust was evaluated. A profile of the distribution of calls, incidents, patients, and outcomes (cardiac arrest [CA] and blue-in [BI] high acuity i.e., patients transported with lights and siren based on paramedic protocol) for the breathing problems chief complaint was evaluated.Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were used to quantify associations between the MPDS priority level's concurrent asthmatic conditions and outcomes. Two-sided Fisher's exact p-values were obtained to determine statistically significant associations, at a level of 0.05.
Sixteen percent (95,848/599,093) of all the patients were classified under the breathing problems chief complaint.Of these 95,848 patients,367 (0.38%) were CA outcomes, and 7.82% (n = 7,493) were BI outcomes.The Cardiac Arrest Quotient (i.e., the number of CA cases as a percentage of the number of patients) for the ECHO priority level was 46 times higher than was that of non-ECHO priority levels: DELTA and CHARLIE (17.05% vs. 0.37%). Asthmatics were associated with CA outcome (OR(95%CI): 0.60(0.47, 0.77), p <0.001), but not with BI outcome.
The MPDS coding yielded a richer mix of severe outcomes in the higher priority levels. The Severe Respiratory Distress coding had the greatest number of patients and severe outcomes. Future studies that help refine the Severe Respiratory Distress code in the MPDS by more specific subgroups of patients would be beneficial.