Mass gatherings such as marathons are increasingly frequent. During mass gatherings, the provision of timely access to health care services is required for the mass-gathering population, as well as for the local community. However, the nature and impact of health care provision during sporting mass gatherings is not well-understood.
The aim of this study was to describe the structures and processes developed for an emergency health team to operate an in-event, acute health care facility during one of the largest mass-sporting participation events in the southern hemisphere, the Gold Coast Marathon (Queensland, Australia).
A pragmatic, qualitative methodology was used to describe the structures and processes required to operate an in-event, acute health care facility providing services for marathon runners and spectators. Content analysis from 12 semi-structured interviews with emergency department (ED) clinical staff working during the two-day event was undertaken in 2016.
Important structural elements of the in-event health care facility included: physical spaces, such as the clinical zones in the marathon health tent and surrounding area, and access and egress points; and resources such as bilingual staff, senior medical staff, and equipment such as electrocardiograms (ECGs) and intravenous fluids. Process elements of the in-event health care facility included clear communication pathways, as well as inter-professional care coordination and engagement involving shared knowledge of and access to resources, and distinct but overlapping clinical scope between nurses and doctors. This was seen to be critical for timely care provision and appropriate case management. Staff reported many perceived benefits and opportunities of in-event health care delivery, including ED avoidance and disaster training.
This in-event model of emergency care delivery, established in an out-of-hospital location, enabled the delivery of acute health care that could be clearly described and defined. Staff reported satisfaction with their ability to provide a meaningful contribution to hospital avoidance and to the local community. With the number of sporting mass gatherings increasing, this temporary, in-event model of health care provision is one option for event and health care planners to consider.
JohnstonANB, WadhamJ, Polong-BrownJ, AitkenM, RanseJ, HuttonA, RichardsB, CrillyJ.Health Care Provision During a Sporting Mass Gathering: A Structure and Process Description of On-Site Care Delivery. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019;34(1):62–71.