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The diagnosis of concussion is a critical step in the appropriate management of patients following minor head trauma. The authors hypothesized that wide practice variation exists among pediatric emergency medicine physicians in the application of physical and cognitive rest recommendations following an acute concussion.
The authors developed a 35-item questionnaire incorporating case vignettes to examine pediatric emergency physician knowledge of concussion diagnosis, understanding of initial management using return-to-play/school/work guidelines, use of existing concussion protocols, and perceived barriers to protocol use. Using a modified Dillman technique, the authors distributed an online survey to members of Pediatric Emergency Research Canada, a national association of pediatric emergency physicians.
Of 176 potential participants, 115 (65%) responded to the questionnaire, 89% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.81, 0.93) of whom reported having diagnosed 20 or more concussions annually. Although 90% (95% CI: 0.83, 0.94) of respondents adequately diagnosed concussion, only 64% (95% CI: 0.54, 0.72) correctly applied graduated return-to-play guidelines. Cognitive rest recommendations were also frequently limited: 40% (95% CI: 0.31, 0.49) did not recommend school absence, 30% (95% CI: 0.22, 0.39) did not recommend schoolwork reduction, and 35% (95% CI: 0.27, 0.45) did not recommend limiting screen time. Eighty percent (95% CI: 0.72, 0.87) of respondents reported having used guidelines frequently or always to guide clinical decisions regarding concussion.
Despite a proficiency in the diagnosis of concussion, pediatric emergency physicians exhibit wide variation in recommending the graduated return to play and cognitive rest following concussion.
Numerous barriers to maintaining infection control practices through the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) exist in the emergency department (ED). This study examined the knowledge, self-reported behaviours, and barriers to compliance with infection control practices and the use of PPE in Canadian pediatric EDs.
A self-administered survey instrument consisting of 21 questions was developed and piloted for this study. The survey was mailed to all individuals listed in the Pediatric Emergency Research Canada database of physicians practicing pediatric emergency medicine in Canada.
A total of 186 physicians were surveyed, and 123 (66%) participated. Twenty-two percent of participants reported that they had never received PPE training and 32% had not been trained in the previous 2 years. Fifty-three percent reported being very or somewhat comfortable with their knowledge of transmission-based isolation practices. Participants were correct on a mean of 4.9 of 11 knowledge-based questions (SD 1.7). For scenarios assessing self-reported use of PPE, participants selected answers that reflected PPE use in accordance with national infection control standards in a mean of 1.0 of 6 scenarios (SD 1.0). Participants reported that they would be more likely to use PPE if patients were clearly identified prior to physician assessment, equipment was accessible, and PPE use was made a priority in their ED.
Knowledge and self-reported adherence to recommended infection control practices among Canadian pediatric emergency physicians is suboptimal. Early identification of patients requiring PPE, convenient access to PPE, and improved education regarding isolation and PPE practices may improve adherence.