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Many Western countries have seen an increase in the volume and importance of external consultants in the public policy process. This book is the first to investigate this phenomenon in a comparative and interdisciplinary way. The analysis shows who these consultants are, how widely and for what reasons they are used in Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, The Netherlands and Sweden. In doing so, the book addresses the positive and negative implications of high levels of external policy consultancy, including its implications for the nature of the state (transforming into a contractor state?) and for democratically legitimized and accountable decision-making (transforming into consultocracy?). It provides valuable new insights for students and practitioners in the fields of public administration, public policy, public management, political science and human resource management.
Introduction: Although use of point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) protocols for patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the Emergency Department (ED) is widespread, our previously reported SHoC-ED study showed no clear survival or length of stay benefit for patients assessed with PoCUS. In this analysis, we examine if the use of PoCUS changed fluid administration and rates of other emergency interventions between patients with different shock types. The primary comparison was between cardiogenic and non-cardiogenic shock types. Methods: A post-hoc analysis was completed on the database from an RCT of 273 patients who presented to the ED with undifferentiated hypotension (SBP <100 or shock index > 1) and who had been randomized to receive standard care with or without PoCUS in 6 centres in Canada and South Africa. PoCUS-trained physicians performed scans after initial assessment. Shock categories and diagnoses recorded at 60 minutes after ED presentation, were used to allocate patients into subcategories of shock for analysis of treatment. We analyzed actual care delivered including initial IV fluid bolus volumes (mL), rates of inotrope use and major procedures. Standard statistical tests were employed. Sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate difference. Results: Although there were expected differences in the mean fluid bolus volume between patients with non-cardiogenic and cardiogenic shock, there was no difference in fluid bolus volume between the control and PoCUS groups (non-cardiogenic control 1878 mL (95% CI 1550 – 2206 mL) vs. non-cardiogenic PoCUS 1687 mL (1458 – 1916 mL); and cardiogenic control 768 mL (194 – 1341 mL) vs. cardiogenic PoCUS 981 mL (341 – 1620 mL). Likewise there were no differences in rates of inotrope administration, or major procedures for any of the subcategories of shock between the control group and PoCUS group patients. The most common subcategory of shock was distributive. Conclusion: Despite differences in care delivered by subcategory of shock, we did not find any significant difference in actual care delivered between patients who were examined using PoCUS and those who were not. This may help to explain the previously reported lack of outcome difference between groups.
Introduction: Burnout includes emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DP) and personal accomplishment (PA). Emergency Department (ED) staff have high levels of burnout that may be responsive to communication skills training. We surveyed ED staff perception of need and efficacy before and after an intervention using an established conflict resolution methodology. Methods: ED physicians, nurses and support staff were surveyed at two regional hospitals using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and a communications questionnaire to establish the perceived need for communication skill training. Participants from one center were provided with a communications intervention (Crucial Conversations®, VitalSmarts®), and a refresher course 6-15 months later. The survey was then repeated at both sites and course participant feedback was elicited. Results: MBI results were high (mean EE = 25.25 (high > 25), 95% CI = 22.5-28; DP = 11.6 (high > 8), 95% CI = 10.1-13.2; PA = 35.85 (low <34), 95% CI = 34.3-37.4). Initially 82% of intervention and 77% of control site participants responded that “attending an educational session about ways to communicate better would help the participants at work”. Post intervention group responses to “The program will be helpful to me in communicating more effectively in my work environment” were: 75% “strongly agree” and 25% “agree”. No rating below “agree” was assigned by any of the participants. Participants preferred facilitated small group simulations and advocated for earlier career implementation. Conclusion: There was a perceived need for and impact from communication skills training for ED staff with high measured burnout. Training may be best implemented in small group simulated encounters and in health professional education curriculum or as part of work orientation.
Introduction: Emergency department (ED) staff carry a high risk for the burnout syndrome of increased emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and decreased personal accomplishment. Previous research has shown that task-oriented coping skills were associated with reduced levels of burnout compared to emotion-oriented coping. ED staff at one hospital participated in an intervention to teach task-oriented coping skills. We hypothesized that the intervention would alter staff coping behaviors and ultimately reduce burnout. Methods: ED physicians, nurses and support staff at two regional hospitals were surveyed using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS). Surveys were performed before and after the implementation of communication and conflict resolution skills training at the intervention facility (I) consisting of a one-day course and a small group refresher 6 to 15 months later. Descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis assessed differences in staff burnout and coping styles compared to the control facility (C) and over time. Results: 85/143 (I) and 42/110 (C) ED staff responded to the initial survey. Post intervention 46 (I) and 23(C) responded. During the two year study period there was no statistically significant difference in CISS or MBI scores between hospitals (CISS: (Pillai's trace = .02, F(3,63) = .47, p = .71, partial η2 = .02); MBI: (Pillai's trace = .01, F(3,63) = .11, p = .95, partial η2 = .01)) or between pre- and post-intervention groups (CISS: (Pillai's trace = .01, F(3,63) = .22, p = .88, partial η2 = .01); MBI: (Pillai's trace = .09, F(3,63) = 2.15, p = .10, partial η2 = .01)). Conclusion: We were not able to measure improvement in staff coping or burnout in ED staff receiving communication skills intervention over a two year period. Burnout is a multifactorial problem and environmental rather than individual factors may be more important to address. Alternatively, to demonstrate a measurable effect on burnout may require more robust or inclusive interventions.
Introduction: There is currently no protocol for the initiation of extra corporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) in out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in Atlantic Canada. Advanced care paramedics (ACPs) perform advanced cardiac life support in the prehospital setting often completing the entire resuscitation on-scene. Implementation of ECPR will present a novel intervention that is only available at the receiving hospital, altering how ACPs manage selected patients. Our objective is to determine if an educational program can improve paramedic identification of ECPR candidates. Methods: An educational program was delivered to paramedics including a short seminar and pocket card coupled with simulations of OHCA cases. A before and after study design using a case-based survey was employed. Paramedics were scored on their ability to correctly identify OHCA patients who met the inclusion criteria for our ECPR protocol. Scores before and after the education delivery were compared using a two tailed t-test. A 6-month follow-up is planned to assess knowledge retention. Qualitative data was also collected from paramedics during simulation to help identify potential barriers to implementation of our protocol in the prehospital setting. Results: Nine advanced care paramedics participated in our educational program. Mean score pre-education was 9.7/16 (61.1%) compared to 14/16 (87.5%) after education delivery. The mean difference between groups was 4.22 (CI = 2.65-5.80, p = 0.0003). There was a significant improvement in the paramedics’ ability to correctly identify ECPR candidates after completing our educational program. Conclusion: Paramedic training through a didactic session coupled with a pocket card and simulation appears to be a feasible method of knowledge translation. 6-month retention data will help ensure knowledge retention is achieved. If successful, this pilot will be expanded to train all paramedics in our prehospital system as we seek to implement an ECPR protocol at our centre.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound has been reported to improve diagnosis in non-traumatic hypotensive ED patients. We compared diagnostic performance of physicians with and without PoCUS in undifferentiated hypotensive patients as part of an international prospective randomized controlled study. The primary outcome was diagnostic performance of PoCUS for cardiogenic vs. non-cardiogenic shock. Methods: SHoC-ED recruited hypotensive patients (SBP < 100 mmHg or shock index > 1) in 6 centres in Canada and South Africa. We describe previously unreported secondary outcomes relating to diagnostic accuracy. Patients were randomized to standard clinical assessment (No PoCUS) or PoCUS groups. PoCUS-trained physicians performed scans after initial assessment. Demographics, clinical details and findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses including shock category were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes. Final diagnosis was determined by independent blinded chart review. Standard statistical tests were employed. Sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate difference. Results: 273 patients were enrolled with follow-up for primary outcome completed for 270. Baseline demographics and perceived category of shock were similar between groups. 11% of patients were determined to have cardiogenic shock. PoCUS had a sensitivity of 80.0% (95% CI 54.8 to 93.0%), specificity 95.5% (90.0 to 98.1%), LR+ve 17.9 (7.34 to 43.8), LR-ve 0.21 (0.08 to 0.58), Diagnostic OR 85.6 (18.2 to 403.6) and accuracy 93.7% (88.0 to 97.2%) for cardiogenic shock. Standard assessment without PoCUS had a sensitivity of 91.7% (64.6 to 98.5%), specificity 93.8% (87.8 to 97.0%), LR+ve 14.8 (7.1 to 30.9), LR- of 0.09 (0.01 to 0.58), Diagnostic OR 166.6 (18.7 to 1481) and accuracy of 93.6% (87.8 to 97.2%). There was no significant difference in sensitivity (-11.7% (-37.8 to 18.3%)) or specificity (1.73% (-4.67 to 8.29%)). Diagnostic performance was also similar between other shock subcategories. Conclusion: As reported in other studies, PoCUS based assessment performed well diagnostically in undifferentiated hypotensive patients, especially as a rule-in test. However performance was similar to standard (non-PoCUS) assessment, which was excellent in this study.
Background: Continuous video-EEG (cvEEG) monitoring is the standard of care for diagnosis and management of neonatal seizures. However, it is labour-intensive. We aimed to establish consistency in monitoring of newborns utilising NICU nurses. Methods: Neonatal nurses were trained to apply scalp electrodes, troubleshoot technical issues. Guidelines, checklists and visual training modules were developed. A central network system allowed remote access to the cvEEGs by the epileptologist for timely interpretation and feedback. We compared 100 infants with moderate to severe HIE before and after the training program. Results: 192 cvEEGs were performed. Of the 100 infants compared; time to initiate brain monitoring decreased by average of 31.5 hours, in electrographic seizure detection increased(20% compared to 34% a), seizure clinical misdiagnosis decreased (65% compared to 36% ), and Anti-Seizure burden decreased. Conclusions: Training experienced NICU nurses to set-up, start and monitor cvEEG can decrease the time to initiate cvEEG which may lead to better seizure diagnosis and management.
Background: Despite advances in neonatal care, neonates with moderate to severe HIE are at high risk of mortality and morbidity. we report the impact of a dedicated NNCC team on short term mortality and morbidities. Methods: A retrospective cohort study on neonates with moderate to serve HIE between July 1st 2008 and December 31st 2017. primary outcome : a composite of death and/or brain injury on MRI. Secondary outcomes: rate of cooling, length of hospital stay, anti-seizure medication burden, and use of inotropes. A regression analysis was done adjusting for gestational age, birth weight, gender, out-born status, Apgar score at 10 minutes, cord blood pH, and HIE clinical staging Results: 216 neonates were included, 109 before NNCC implementation, and 107 thereafter. NNCC program resulted in reduction in the primary outcome (AOR: 0.28, CI: 0.14-0.54, p<0.001) and brain injury (AOR: 0.28, CI: 0.14-0.55, p<0.001). It decreased average length of stay/infants by 5 days (p=0.03), improved cooling rate (73% compared to 93% , p <0.001), reduced: seizure misdiagnosis (71% compared to 23%, P <0.001), anti-seizure medication burden (P = 0.001), and inotrope use (34% compared to 53%, p=0.004) Conclusions: NNCC program decreased mortality and brain injury , shortened the length of hospital stay and improved care of neonates with significant HIE.
Introduction: Emergency Department (ED) staff burnout correlates with psychological coping strategies used by Emergency department health professionals (EDHPs). Staff at two urban referral EDs in New Brunswick took part in a survey of burnout and coping strategies after one ED experienced an influx of new physicians and a newly renovated ED in 2011. Six years later, ED crowding and EDHP staffing problems became prevalent at both EDs. We compared levels of burnout at two urban referral EDs to determine if burnout and coping worsened over time. Methods: An anonymous survey of all EDHPs at 2 urban referral EDs was performed in 2011 and in 2017. A demographics questionnaire, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI, measuring emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and personal accomplishment), and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS, measuring task-oriented, emotion-oriented, and avoidance-oriented coping styles) were collected. Descriptive statistics and linear regression models examined relationships over time and between the two hospitals. Results: Burnout scores were similar both at the two facilities and in 2011 (n=153) and 2017 (n=127). There were no differences between samples or EDs for important factors. Emotion-oriented coping was associated with higher levels of burnout, while task-oriented coping was inversely correlated with burnout. Experiencing professional stress was a significant predictor of emotional exhaustion, while those working longer years in their current department had higher emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. By 2017, both EDs had experienced significant nursing staff turnover (50%) compared to 2011. Conclusion: Burnout scores remained consistent after 6 years at these two urban referral EDs. Given the evidence that increased years of service is associated with increased burnout, high staff turnover rate at both EDs could explain how scores remained constant. Staff turnover may represent a way these ED systems cope in a challenging environment. In 2017, task-oriented copers continued to score lower while emotionally-oriented copers showed higher burnout risk, and experiencing professional stress remains a strong predictor of burnout.
The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) has been used to study the complex flowfield created by simulated battle damage to a two-dimensional wing. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) predictions have also been used for validation of internal cavity flow. Two damage cases were selected for the study; both cases were simulated using a single hole with diameters equal to 20% and 40% of the chord, located at the wing half-chord. Wind-tunnel tests were conducted at a Reynolds number of 500,000 over a range of incidences from 0 to 10° with two-component PIV measurements made on three chordwise and three spanwise planes. The PIV data were analysed and compared to CFD data of the same damage cases. The PIV data have shown lower velocity ratios and lower vorticity in the jet compared to past Jet in Cross-Flow experiments and CFD was used to describe the flow features inside the cavity of the wing. It was seen that the wing cavity has large effects on the external flow features, particularly for the 20% damage case. Finally, the flow field data have been related to force balance data. At higher incidence angles, the larger force coefficient increments in both lift and drag can be attributed to the larger wakes and higher jet strengths.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasonography (PoCUS) is an established tool in the initial management of hypotensive patients in the emergency department (ED). It has been shown rule out certain shock etiologies, and improve diagnostic certainty, however evidence on benefit in the management of hypotensive patients is limited. We report the findings from our international multicenter RCT assessing the impact of a PoCUS protocol on diagnostic accuracy, as well as other key outcomes including mortality, which are reported elsewhere. Methods: Recruitment occurred at 4 North American and 3 Southern African sites. Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 mmHg or shock index >1) who were randomized to either PoCUS or control groups. Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. Demographics, clinical details and findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes, with ultrasound performed in the PoCUS group prior to secondary assessment. Final chart review was blinded to initial impressions and PoCUS findings. Categorical data was analyzed using Fishers two-tailed test. Our sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. The perceived shock category changed more frequently in the PoCUS group 20/127 (15.7%) vs. control 7/125 (5.6%); RR 2.81 (95% CI 1.23 to 6.42; p=0.0134). There was no significant difference in change of diagnostic impression between groups PoCUS 39/123 (31.7%) vs control 34/124 (27.4%); RR 1.16 (95% CI 0.786 to 1.70; p=0.4879). There was no significant difference in the rate of correct category of shock between PoCUS (118/127; 93%) and control (113/122; 93%); RR 1.00 (95% CI 0.936 to 1.08; p=1.00), or for correct diagnosis; PoCUS 90/127 (70%) vs control 86/122 (70%); RR 0.987 (95% CI 0.671 to 1.45; p=1.00). Conclusion: This is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients. We found that the use of PoCUS did change physicians’ perceived shock category. PoCUS did not improve diagnostic accuracy for category of shock or diagnosis.
Introduction: Almost every domain of quality is reduced in crowded emergency departments (ED), with significant challenges around the definition, measurement and interventions for ED crowding. We wished to determine if a combination of 3 easily measurable variables could perform as well as standard tools (NEDOCS score and a NEDOCS-derived LOCAL tool) in predicting ED crowding at a tertiary hospital with 57,000 visits per year. Methods: Over a 2-week period, we recorded ED crowding predictor variables and calculated NEDOCS and LOCAL scores. These were compared every 2 hours to a reference standard Physician Visual Analog Scale (range 0 to 10) impression of crowding to determine if any combination of variables outperformed NEDOCS and LOCAL (crowded=5 or greater). Five numeric variables performed well under univariate analysis: i) Total ED Patients; ii) Patients in ED beds + Waiting Room; iii) Boarded Patients; iv) Waiting Room Patients; v) Patients in beds To Be Seen. These underwent multivariate, log regression with stratification and bootstrapping to account for incomplete data and seasonal and daily effect. Results: 143 out of a possible 168 observations were completed. Two different combinations of 3 variables outperformed NEDOCS and LOCAL. The most powerful combination was: Boarded Patients; plus Waiting Room Patients; plus Patients in beds To Be Seen, with Sensitivity 81% and Specificity 76% (r=0.844, β=0.712, p<0.0001, strong positive correlation). This compared favourably with NEDOCS and LOCAL, each with Sensitivity 71% and Specificity 64%[PA1] (r=0.545 and r=0.640 respectively). We will also present a sensitivity and specificity analysis of all combinations of predictor variables, using various reference standard cut-offs for crowding. Conclusion: A combination of 3 easily measurable ED variables (Boarded Patients; plus Waiting Room Patients; plus Patients in beds To Be Seen) performed better than the validated NEDOCS tool and a NEDOCS-derived LOCAL score at predicting ED crowding. Work is on going to design a simple tool that can predict crowding in real time and facilitate early interventions. Correlation with ED system and clinical outcomes should be studied in different ED environments.
Introduction/Innovation Concept: University Departments of Emergency Medicine are responsible for the supervision of research and other scholarly projects for fellows, residents and students, though often lack resources to provide adequate input and oversight. Many departments cover large geographical areas and several programs. We piloted new research committee structures and processes to improve oversight and output of research projects. Methods: We created an interactive group supervision tool based around formation of a collaborative research committee, with rotating chairs from each program, to provide supervision and face to face interaction, and direction for research learners. Included were all Dalhousie University adult and pediatric emergency medicine residency and fellowship programs, as well as trauma and EMS programs across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. In addition to providing expertise in clinical trial coordination, database management, research administration, grant applications and Research Ethics Board submissions, we have completed a 2-year pilot of our interactive group supervision tool for research projects. Curriculum, Tool, or Material: The interactive tool consists of a structured PICOD form; allocation of topic and research mentors; standardized yearly milestones from project development through presentation and publication; and regular video-conferenced and in-person interactive group sessions involving several project leads, as well as program research directors, researchers, and co-ordinators. To date, all participating program learners have engaged with the tool, with positive feedback from learners, supervisors and program directors. Conclusion: We report our development of a regional collaborative interactive group supervision tool, that maximizes expert resources in the provision of research and scholarly project supervision.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) is an established tool in the initial management of patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the emergency department (ED). While PoCUS protocols have been shown to improve early diagnostic accuracy, there is little published evidence for any mortality benefit. We report the findings from our international multicenter randomized controlled trial, assessing the impact of a PoCUS protocol on survival and key clinical outcomes. Methods: Recruitment occurred at 7 centres in North America (4) and South Africa (3). Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 or shock index>1), randomized to PoCUS or control (standard care and no PoCUS) groups. Demographics, clinical details and study findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes, with ultrasound performed in the PoCUS group prior to secondary assessment. The primary outcome measure was 30-day/discharge mortality. Secondary outcome measures included diagnostic accuracy, changes in vital signs, acid-base status, and length of stay. Categorical data was analyzed using Fishers test, and continuous data by Student T test and multi-level log-regression testing. (GraphPad/SPSS) Final chart review was blinded to initial impressions and PoCUS findings. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. There was no difference between groups for the primary outcome of mortality; PoCUS 32/129 (24.8%; 95% CI 14.3-35.3%) vs. Control 32/129 (24.8%; 95% CI 14.3-35.3%); RR 1.00 (95% CI 0.869 to 1.15; p=1.00). There were no differences in the secondary outcomes; ICU and total length of stay. Our sample size has a power of 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Other secondary outcomes are reported separately. Conclusion: This is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients. We did not find any mortality or length of stay benefits with the use of a PoCUS protocol, though a larger study is required to confirm these findings. While PoCUS may have diagnostic benefits, these may not translate into a survival benefit effect.
Introduction: Point of Care Ultrasound (PoCUS) protocols are commonly used to guide resuscitation for emergency department (ED) patients with undifferentiated non-traumatic hypotension. While PoCUS has been shown to improve early diagnosis, there is a minimal evidence for any outcome benefit. We completed an international multicenter randomized controlled trial (RCT) to assess the impact of a PoCUS protocol on key resuscitation markers in this group. We report diagnostic impact and mortality elsewhere. Methods: The SHoC-ED1 study compared the addition of PoCUS to standard care within the first hour in the treatment of adult patients presenting with undifferentiated hypotension (SBP<100 mmHg or a Shock Index >1.0) with a control group that did not receive PoCUS. Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. 4 North American, and 3 South African sites participated in the study. Resuscitation outcomes analyzed included volume of fluid administered in the ED, changes in shock index (SI), modified early warning score (MEWS), venous acid-base balance, and lactate, at one and four hours. Comparisons utilized a T-test as well as stratified binomial log-regression to assess for any significant improvement in resuscitation amount the outcomes. Our sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. There was no significant difference in mean total volume of fluid received between the control (1658 ml; 95%CI 1365-1950) and PoCUS groups (1609 ml; 1385-1832; p=0.79). Significant improvements were seen in SI, MEWS, lactate and bicarbonate with resuscitation in both the PoCUS and control groups, however there was no difference between groups. Conclusion: SHOC-ED1 is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard of care in hypotensive ED patients. No significant difference in fluid used, or markers of resuscitation was found when comparing the use of a PoCUS protocol to that of standard of care in the resuscitation of patients with undifferentiated hypotension.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) has become an established tool in the initial management of patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the emergency department (ED). Current established protocols (e.g. RUSH and ACES) were developed by expert user opinion, rather than objective, prospective data. Recently the SHoC Protocol was published, recommending 3 core scans; cardiac, lung, and IVC; plus other scans when indicated clinically. We report the abnormal ultrasound findings from our international multicenter randomized controlled trial, to assess if the recommended 3 core SHoC protocol scans were chosen appropriately for this population. Methods: Recruitment occurred at seven centres in North America (4) and South Africa (3). Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 or shock index>1) who were randomized to PoCUS or control (standard care with no PoCUS) groups. All scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians within one hour of arrival in the ED. Demographics, clinical details and study findings were collected prospectively. A threshold incidence for positive findings of 10% was established as significant for the purposes of assessing the appropriateness of the core recommendations. Results: 138 patients had a PoCUS screen completed. All patients had cardiac, lung, IVC, aorta, abdominal, and pelvic scans. Reported abnormal findings included hyperdynamic LV function (59; 43%); small collapsing IVC (46; 33%); pericardial effusion (24; 17%); pleural fluid (19; 14%); hypodynamic LV function (15; 11%); large poorly collapsing IVC (13; 9%); peritoneal fluid (13; 9%); and aortic aneurysm (5; 4%). Conclusion: The 3 core SHoC Protocol recommendations included appropriate scans to detect all pathologies recorded at a rate of greater than 10 percent. The 3 most frequent findings were cardiac and IVC abnormalities, followed by lung. It is noted that peritoneal fluid was seen at a rate of 9%. Aortic aneurysms were rare. This data from the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients, supports the use of the prioritized SHoC protocol, though a larger study is required to confirm these findings.
As Canada’s population ages, frailty – with its increased risk of functional decline, deterioration in health status, and death – will become increasingly common. The physiology of frailty reflects its multisystem, multi-organ origins. About a quarter of Canadians over age 65 are frail, increasing to over half in those older than 85. Our health care system is organized around single-organ systems, impairing our ability to effectively treat people having multiple disorders and functional limitations. To address frailty, we must recognize when it occurs, increase awareness of its significance, develop holistic models of care, and generate better evidence for its treatment. Recognizing how frailty impacts lifespan will allow for integration of care goals into treatment options. Different settings in the Canadian health care system will require different strategies and tools to assess frailty. Given the magnitude of challenges frailty poses for the health care system as currently organized, policy changes will be essential.
Introduction: The percentage of unplanned return visits (URV) to the Emergency Department (ED) within 48 or 72 hours of discharge that result in an admission to hospital has been recommended as the top Canadian ED patient safety quality indicator. International data exists although inconsistences exist in the way URV are defined and measured. To our knowledge there are no published Canadian data on the percentage of ED URV admissions. This study examines our own URV data and in particular the correlation between URV admission rates and first visit Canadian Triage Acuity Scale (CTAS) category. Methods: A retrospective analysis of 12-month’s data (January - December 2015) was completed for URV to the ED of a 445 bed regional tertiary care adult and pediatric teaching hospital with 57,000 annual attendances. URV was defined as any patient registering within 72 hours of an earlier visit that had resulted in a discharge from ED. Planned return visits were excluded. The data was analysed for an overall URV percentage, UV percentage by first visit CTAS category, overall percentage of URV admitted and URV admission percentage by first visit CTAS category. Pearson R correlation and Fishers Exact Test were used to test the relationship. Results: During the 12-month period there were 57,025 registrations of which 46,793 patients were discharged. There were 3566 URV (7.62% of those discharged); the number of URV admitted was 532 (1.14 % of those discharged). The return rate/admission rates by CTAS category were: CTAS 1: 6.74%/1.55%; CTAS 2: 7.86%/1.92%; CTAS 3: 8.54%/1.35%; CTAS 4: 5.99%/0.40%; CTAS 5: 5.55%/0.27%. The RR of admission on return for discharged CTAS groups 1 and 2, compared with CTAS 3, 4 and 5 was 1.90 (95 CI 1.57 to 2.30; p<0.0001). Rate of admission on return was negatively correlated with initial CTAS level (Pearson r = -0.89 (95 CI -0.99 to -0.03); R2=0.79; F=11.25; p=0.04). Conclusion: We have demonstrated a relationship between first visit CTAS category and the unplanned return admission rate. If admission is taken as a marker of illness severity, then the likelihood of an inappropriate discharge is inversely proportional to first visit CTAS score. While this makes sense intuitively, our data confirms this relationship in a Canadian tertiary care hospital and supports the reporting of ED URV admission data by first visit triage category as an important quality indicator.
Introduction: Patient morbidity and mortality are influenced by delay in access to care and lack of continuity of care. Patients frequently present to the emergency department (ED) for care despite being registered with a primary care (PC) provider. Advanced access is an open scheduling system promoted by the College of Family Physicians of Canada that triages primary care (PC) patients to be seen within 24 hours, reducing care delay. We wished to determine the prevalence of formal triage systems in PC appointment allocation. Methods: We performed linked cross sectional surveys to quantify the number of ambulatory patients presenting to a tertiary urban ED (with an annual census of 56,000 visits) who felt unable to access primary care. PC practices were also surveyed to assess use of formal triage methods and measure access using the metric of time to third next available appointment. Descriptive statistics were calculated. Results: In the patient survey, 381 of 580 patients consented to participate. Of those, 324 patients reported reasons for their ED visit. Perception that wait time for PC was “too long” was reported in 73/324 (23%); 86% reported wait times of greater than 48 hours. The PC practice response rate was 63.8% (46/ 72). The mean time to third next available appointment was 7.7 (95% CI 4.9-10.5) days (median 5 days, range 0-50 days). No PC practice reported utilizing a formal triage system when booking appointments. Conclusion: No primary care practices in the surveyed region used a formal triage system to allocate appointments, despite a range of wait times that extended up to 50 days. The safety of primary care appointment allocation may be improved with introduction of a formal triage system, especially if overall wait times cannot be reduced.