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Effects of stresses associated with extremely preterm birth may be biologically “recorded” in the genomes of individuals born preterm via changes in DNA methylation (DNAm) patterns. Genome-wide DNAm profiles were examined in buccal epithelial cells from 45 adults born at extremely low birth weight (ELBW; ≤1000 g) in the oldest known cohort of prospectively followed ELBW survivors (Mage = 32.35 years, 17 male), and 47 normal birth weight (NBW; ≥2500 g) control adults (Mage = 32.43 years, 20 male). Sex differences in DNAm profiles were found in both birth weight groups, but they were greatly enhanced in the ELBW group (77,895 loci) versus the NBW group (3,424 loci), suggesting synergistic effects of extreme prenatal adversity and sex on adult DNAm profiles. In men, DNAm profiles differed by birth weight group at 1,354 loci on 694 unique genes. Only two loci on two genes distinguished between ELBW and NBW women. Gene ontology (GO) and network analyses indicated that loci differentiating between ELBW and NBW men were abundant in genes within biological pathways related to neuronal development, synaptic transportation, metabolic regulation, and cellular regulation. Findings suggest increased sensitivity of males to long-term epigenetic effects of extremely preterm birth. Group differences are discussed in relation to particular gene functions.
Introduction: Mastery learning, which deconstructs a complex task into sequential sub-steps combined with deliberate practice to achieve each step in sequence, represents an important method to enhance simulation-based procedural skills training. However, the evidence to support the effectiveness of this theory to improve learning is lacking. This study compared mastery learning using deliberate practice with self-guided practice on skill performance of a rarely performed, life-saving procedure, a bougie-assisted cricothyroidotomy (BAC). Methods: In this multi-centre, randomized study at five North American emergency medicine (EM) residency training programs, we assigned 166 EM postgraduate trainees to either mastery learning and deliberate practice (ML + DP) or self-guided practice for BAC. Three blinded airway experts independently evaluated BAC skill performance by video review before (pre-test) and after (post-test) each training session. The primary outcome was post-test skill performance using a 5-point global rating score (GRS). A secondary outcome, defined a priori, was performance time to complete the BAC skill (chronometry). Results: There was no significant difference in post-test BAC performance after ML + DP or self-guided practice. Performance scores improved for both groups by 13% from the pre-test to post-test (F (1,138) = 43, p < 0.001). Overall, time to complete the BAC improved significantly from pre-test (87.6 seconds) to posttest (54.1 seconds), (F, 1,149) = 122, p < 0.001). At post-test, the ML + DP group performed the skill 7.4 seconds faster than the self-guided practice group (F (1,150) = 6.77, p < 0.01). Conclusion: Mastery learning coupled with deliberate practice provides systematic and focused feedback during skill acquisition. However, it is resource intensive and its efficacy is not fully defined. In this study, MP + DP did not result in improved global performance; it did result in faster performance times, a relevant finding for time-sensitive procedures. These results are important for educators who seek to optimize technical skills training in a competency-based model of medical education. Our findings suggest that time-sensitive procedures might benefit from ML + DP teaching strategies to enhance time to procedural performance.
The influence of social knowledge on speech perception is a question of interest to a range of disciplines of language research. This study combines experimental and qualitative approaches to investigate whether the various methodological and disciplinary threads of research on this topic are truly investigating the same phenomenon to provide converging evidence in our understanding of social listening. This study investigates listeners’ perceptions of Spanish and Quechua speakers speaking Spanish in the context of a contact zone between these two languages and their speakers in central Bolivia. The results of a pair of matched-guise vowel discrimination tasks and subsequent interviews demonstrate that what people perceive, as measured by experimental tasks, is not necessarily what they believe they hear, as reported in narrative responses to interview prompts. Multiple methodological approaches must be employed in order to fully understand the way that we perceive language at diverging levels of sociolinguistic awareness. (Perception, sociophonetics, sociolinguistics, awareness, Andean Spanish)
Introduction: Emergency physicians (EP) are expected to be competent in a variety of uncommon but life-saving procedures, including the bougie assisted cricothyrotomy (BAC). Given the rarity and high-stakes nature of the BAC, simulation is often used as the primary learning and training modality. However, mental practice (MP), defined as the “cognitive rehearsal of a skill in the absence of overt physical movement”, has been shown to be as effective as physical practice in several areas, including athletics, music, team-based resuscitation and surgical skill acquisition. MP scripts incorporate cues from different sensory modalities to supplement instructions of how to complete the skill. We sought to explore EPs perspectives on the kinesthetic, visual and cognitive aspects of performing a BAC to inform the development of a MP BAC script. Methods: We undertook a qualitative interview study of EPs at a single tertiary care centre who had done a BAC in clinical practice. Participants were recruited using purposive sampling. The primary method for data collection was in-depth semi-structured qualitative interviews, which were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data collection and analysis were concurrent; transcripts were coded independently by two researchers using qualitative content analysis on a coding framework based on the previously developed BAC checklist. At each procedural step, the kinesthetic, visual and cognitive cues that enhance MP were identified. Results: Eight EPs (5 staff; 3 Royal College residents) participated in the interviews. All participants had completed at least one BAC in their clinical practice. Data analysis revealed recurrent themes signifying successful completion of each procedural step. These include visual (ie. seeing a spray of blood upon entry into the airway) and kinesthetic (ie. feel of the tracheal rings on a finger) cues that describe aspects of the procedure not found in traditional teaching modalities, such as textbooks. Conclusion: Knowledge gleaned from the interviews of EPs with lived experience gives us a deeper insight into the sensory aspects of performing a BAC in clinical practice. We expect that using these experientially derived cues to inform the development of a MP script will increase its validity and applicability to learners and for skill maintenance. Future work includes evaluating the utility of the developed script in acquiring and maintaining competence performing the BAC.
Introduction: Emergency medicine (EM) residents are expected become proficient in a number of rarely performed, high risk procedures. We developed Critical Care Skills Training Day for senior FRCP and CCFP EM residents at a single university program to fill a gap in resident confidence with these procedures. The day applies principles of deliberate practice with focused feedback using simulation-based training for several rarely performed procedures including thoracotomy, fibre-optic intubation, pericardiocentesis, resuscitative hysterotomy and central line insertion. The objectives of this work was to improve the residents’ scores of self-perceived comfort independently performing these procedures by completion of the training day. Methods: Clinician educators, residency program directors and simulation specialists designed and taught the curriculum. We used pre- and post-training day surveys blending Likert, multiple choice and free text comments to measure comfort performing each procedure, overall satisfaction and usefulness of this training. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze results. Pre-post differences were assessed using paired sample T-tests. Comments and themes from course evaluations were used to make yearly iterative changes. Results: A total of 95 residents completed the curriculum between 2016-2018. 89 completed evaluations (93%). Residents reported significant (p < 0.05) improvement in comfort independently performing fibre optic intubation, thoracotomy and central line insertion. The day was rated very highly, 9.4/10 (SD, 0.72), over 3 years. Feedback was positive with participants identifying opportunities for repeated practice, feedback from instructors and practical tips to improve performance as valuable aspects. Iterative changes were made yearly in response to resident feedback including introduction of new procedures, incorporating skills into sim-based cases, and different training models for skill training. Conclusion: Critical Care Skills Training Day for EM residents was created using the principle of deliberate practice to fill a perceived gap in resident training. Residents who completed the annual curriculum showed a marked increase in comfort independently performing several of the procedures. Ongoing challenges include the length of the day, economies of scale, and training models available for the rare procedures. Future directions include the integration of longitudinal objective performance evaluations to align with the competency by design curriculum.
Background: Massive transfusion protocols (MTP) are widely used to rapidly deliver blood products to bleeding trauma patients. Every minute delay in blood product administration in bleeding trauma patients is associated with a 5% increased odds of death. In-situ simulation (ISS) is simulation that takes place in the actual clinical work environment. We used ISS as a novel, prospective and iterative quality improvement (QI) approach to identify and improve MTP steps that impact time to blood delivery (TTBD) during actual trauma resuscitations. Aim Statement: To reduce the TTBD for bleeding trauma patients by 20% over a 12-month ISS-based QI initiative. Measures & Design: We conducted twelve high-fidelity, interprofessional ISS sessions at a Level-1 trauma center in Toronto, Canada. We used clinician video review as well as extensive stakeholder involvement, including with nurses, porters, blood bank and human factors experts, to develop Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles for MTP improvement. Our three major PDSA cycles revolved around: 1) decreasing MTP activation time; 2) reducing the unpredictable and inefficient transport times for the blood itself; and 3) improving the notification of blood product arrival in the trauma bay. Each PDSA cycle was iteratively tested with ISS prior to implementation into clinical care. Outcome measure was the mean TTBD for trauma patients requiring MTP (in minutes, standard deviation [SD]). Process measures included time to MTP activation and porter transport times. Balancing measures included stakeholder satisfaction. Evaluation/Results: Our baseline TTBD for MTP patients was 11.58min (n = 41, SD 6.8). There were 54 trauma patients that had MTP during the ISS-based QI initiative, and their mean TTBD was 10.44min (SD 6.1). The TTBD after the QI initiative was 9.12min, sustained over 1 year (n = 50, SD 5.3; 21.2% relative reduction, p < 0.05). A run chart did not show special cause variation chronologically related to our interventions. Patients in each group were similar in demographic data, trauma characteristics and injury severity score. Discussion/Impact: We achieved a 21.2% reduction in TTBD for trauma patients requiring MTP with an ISS-based QI initiative. ISS represents a novel approach to the identification and iterative testing of process improvements within trauma care. This methodology can and should be included in QI projects in order to safely test and improve processes of care before they impact real patients.
Introduction: Email and text messaging holds the potential to not only contact patients after emergency department (ED) care for clinically important communications such as appointment reminders, but also to solicit feedback for quality improvement and/or participation in research. A necessary first step though is the collection of electronic contact information, but little is known about current practice in Ontario EDs. In this study, we sought to characterize current collection, consent and use of patient email and texting to communicate with ED patients at academic and community hospitals across Ontario. Methods: We developed a questionnaire, with a blend of multiple choice and open-ended questions, targeted at ED registration administrators. The questions focused on if and how EDs collect, store and consent for patient emails, how and what they utilize those emails for and if they text patients. The questionnaire was administered both online and by phone. Participants were recruited through snowball sampling, including facilitated dissemination of the questionnaire via an existing listserv of the Patient Registration Network of Ontario (PRNO). Results: Twenty-two respondents (41% response rate) completed the questionnaire. Seven of the 22 institutions were academic health centres (32%). Nine institutions (41%) collected patient email addresses in the ED and none collected or used text message technology. In all 9, registration staff were tasked with asking, consenting, collecting and storing patient details within their hospital admissions, discharge and transfer system (ADT). For sites with email address collection, respondents estimated 40-60% of ED patients shared an email address. Seven of 9 institutions had a verbal consent process, while 2 used implied consent. Only 2 institutions used email to send patients post-discharge feedback questionnaires and four used email to facilitate access to patient portals. Four institutions were looking at using text messages to direct patients at triage, sometime in the future. Conclusion: Engagement in optimized care and feedback requires communication which is quickly shifting to electronic format. Collection of electronic contact information continues to be slow and uneven in Ontario. There is an immediate need for clearer guidance to accelerate collection, storage, consent and use of email and text messaging technology.
We aimed to quantify the proportion of people receiving care for HIV-infection that are 50 years or older (older HIV patients) in Latin America and the Caribbean between 2000 and 2015 and to estimate the contribution to the growth of this population of people enrolled before (<50yo) and after 50 years old (yo) (⩾50yo). We used a series of repeated, cross-sectional measurements over time in the Caribbean, Central and South American network (CCASAnet) cohort. We estimated the percentage of patients retained in care each year that were older HIV patients. For every calendar year, we divided patients into two groups: those who enrolled before age 50 and after age 50. We used logistic regression models to estimate the change in the proportion of older HIV patients between 2000 and 2015. The percentage of CCASAnet HIV patients over 50 years had a threefold increase (8% to 24%) between 2000 and 2015. Most of the growth of this population can be explained by the increasing proportion of people that enrolled before 50 years and aged in care. These changes will impact needs of care for people living with HIV, due to multiple comorbidities and high risk of disability associated with aging.
Introduction: The 2015 CanMEDS framework requires all residency programs to increase their focus on Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (QIPS). We created a longitudinal (4-year), modular QIPS curriculum for FRCP emergency medicine residents at the University of Toronto (UT) using multiple educational methods. The curriculum addresses three levels of QIPS training: knowledge, practical skills at the microsystem level, and practical skills at the organization level. Aim Statement: To increase the UT FRCP emergency medicine residents absolute score on the QIKAT-R (Quality Improvement Knowledge Application Tool Revised) by 10% after the completion of the QIPS curriculum. Methods: Physicians and other healthcare professionals with QI expertise collaboratively designed and taught the curriculum. We used the QIKAT-R as the outcome measure to evaluate QI knowledge and its applicability. The QIKAT-R is a validated measure that assesses an individuals ability to decipher a QI issue within the healthcare context, and propose a change initiative to address it. The first cohort of residents completed the QIKAT-R prior to the first session in 2014 (pre) and at the completion of the curriculum in 2017 (post). Each response was anonymized and scored by physicians with QI expertise. The QIKAT-R scores and comments from course evaluations are used to make yearly iterative curriculum changes. Results: The QIPS curriculum was implemented in September 2014. All nine residents in the first cohort completed the curriculum; they demonstrated an absolute increase of 19.6% (5.3/27) in the mean QIKAT-R score (13.0 +/− 3.3 pre vs. 18.3 +/− 3.8 post, p=0.001). Of the pre-test responses, 26% were categorized as poor, 70% as good, and 4% as excellent, whereas of the post-test 11% of responses were categorized as poor, 37% as good, and 52% as excellent (p<0.001). Two iterative curriculum changes were made at the end of each academic year since 2014: (1) The time between sessions were decreased to promote knowledge retention, and (2) different PGY3 QI practical project options were provided to suit residents individual QI interests. QIKAT-R scores and resident feedback were used to evaluate the impact of the curriculum changes. Conclusion: A collaborative, modular, longitudinal QIPS curriculum for UT FRCP emergency medicine residents that met CanMEDS requirements was created using multiple educational methods. The first resident cohort that completed the curriculum demonstrated an absolute increase in QI knowledge and its applicability (as measured by the QIKAT-R) by 19.6%. Two PDSA cycles were completed to improve the curriculum with the change ideas generated from resident feedback. Ongoing challenges include limited staff availability to teach and supervise resident QI projects. Future directions include incentivising staff participation and providing mentorship for residents with a career interest in QI beyond what is offered by the curriculum.
Introduction: Patient-reported outcome measures (PROM) are questionnaires that can be used to elicit care outcome information from patients. We sought to develop and validate the first PROM for adult patients without a primary mental health or addictions presentation receiving emergency department (ED) care and who were not hospitalized. Methods: PROM development used a multi-phase process based on national and international guidance (FDA, NQF, ISPOR). Phase 1: ED outcome conceptual framework qualitative interviews with ED patients post-discharge informed four core domains (previously published). Phase 2: Item generation scoping review of the literature and existing instruments identified candidate questions relevant for each domain for inclusion in tool. Phase 3: Cognitive debriefing existing and newly written questions were tested with ED patients post-discharge for comprehension and wording preference. Phase 4: Field and validity testing revised tool pilot tested on a national online survey panel and then again at 2 weeks (test-retest). Phase 5: Final item reduction using a Delphi process involving ED clinicians, researchers, patients and system administrators. Phase 6: Validation - psychometric testing of PROM-ED 1.0. Results: Four core outcome domains were defined in Phase 1: (1) understanding; (2) symptom relief; (3) reassurance and (4) having a plan. The domains informed a review of existing relevant questionnaires and instruments and the writing of additional questions creating an initial long-form questionnaire. Eight patients participated in cognitive debriefing of the long-form questionnaire. Expert clinicians, researchers and patient partners provided input on item refinement and reduction. Four hundred forty-four patients completed a second version of the long-form questionnaire (add in retest numbers) which informed the final item reduction process by a modified Delphi method involving 21 diverse contributors. The questionnaire was validated and underwent final revisions to create the 21 questions that constitute PROM-ED 1.0. Conclusion: Using accepted PROM instrument development methodology, we developed the first outcome questionnaire for use with adult ED patients who are not hospitalized. This questionnaire can be used to systematically gather patient-reported outcome information that could support and inform improvement work in ED care.
Introduction: Inspired by the Choosing Wisely® campaign, St. Michaels Hospital (SMH) launched an initiative to reduce unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures that may cause patient harm. Stakeholder engagement identified inappropriate ordering of urine culture & sensitivities (C&S) in the emergency department (ED) as a focus area. Inappropriate urine C&S increase workload, healthcare costs and detection of asymptomatic bacteriuria which can lead to unnecessary antibiotics. The project’s purposes were to describe the scope of inappropriately ordered urine C&S in the SMH ED and to conduct a root-cause analysis to inform future quality improvement interventions. Methods: Criteria for determining appropriateness was developed a priori using evidence-based guidelines from the University Health Network together with additional literature review. A retrospective chart review was performed on all urine C&S ordered in the ED from Jun 1 Aug 30, 2016. Each chart was reviewed for order appropriateness, demographic information and ordering provider. All inappropriate urine C&S were reviewed to identify root causes which were then grouped into common themes. A pareto chart was constructed to analyze the frequency of causes. Results: Of 425 urine C&S ordered, 75 (17.7%) were inappropriate. The top 3 reasons were: inappropriate urosepsis work-ups (53%), order processing errors (17%) and inappropriate work-ups for weakness (16%). Inappropriate urosepsis work-ups were defined as urine C&S that were ordered empirically despite there being a clear focus for infection elsewhere (i.e. cough, cellulitis) and in the absence of urinary symptoms. Order processing errors were defined as urine C&S which were sent despite there being no documented order. Inappropriate testing was more likely to occur overnight, in females and when a urine routine and microscopy was not ordered prior to C&S. 29% of patients with inappropriate C&S received antibiotics. Conclusion: 17.7% of urine C&S ordered in the SMH ED during the 3-month study period were inappropriate. The top cause was septic patients who were empirically tested despite having another source for infection identified from the outset. A possible reason for this is the recent ED emphasis on early recognition of sepsis which may encourage early use of antibiotics and empiric urine C&S. One question to resolve is whether a 17.7% overutilization rate is sufficient to make it a target for change. Interventions designed to reduce inappropriate urine C&S may inadvertently increase the number of missed cultures in patients admitted with sepsis not yet diagnosed. Next steps involve discussions between the ED, Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease and Microbiology, and patient partners to identify patient-centered change ideas and sustainable strategies. This may involve establishing guidelines for ordering urine C&S and incorporating lab services to provide oversight into urine C&S processing.
Introduction: With the current opioid crisis in Canada, presentations of acute opioid withdrawal (AOW) to emergency departments (ED) are increasing. Undertreated symptoms may result in relapse, overdose and death. Buprenorphine/naloxone (bup/nal) is a partial opioid agonist/antagonist used to mitigate symptoms of AOW, approved by Health Canad in 2007 for opioid use disorder. It is superior to clonidine, and increases follow up with addiction treatment programs when initiated in the ED. Nevertheless, in our inner-city ED in 2014, bup/nal was rarely prescribed. We aimed to increase ED physician prescribing of bup/nal for AOW by 50% over a 26-month period. Methods: Commencing in 2014, an interprofessional team of ED physicians, nurses (RN), pharmacists and QI specialists collaborated to improve the care of patients with AOW. PDSA cycles included: (1) needs assessment of emergency physicians knowledge and practices in 2014; (2) Grand Rounds and a web based information sheet in 2015; (3) ED stocking of bup/nal; (4) convenience order set to standardize AOW management; (5) Grand Rounds in 2016 and (6) peer-coaching for RNs, including case-based discussions and pocket card cognitive aids. The outcome was the number of times bup/nal was prescribed per month by ED physicians between Sept, 2015 and Oct, 2017. Data included the prescriber and use of order set as the process measure. The balancing measure was the number of patients referred to the Addiction Medicine Team who subsequently received bup/nal. Results: Bup/nal was prescribed by ED physicians 70 times, and 14 times by the Addiction Medicine Team. With each PDSA cycle, there was an increase in prescribing, with no significant shifts or trends. By all physicians, the median number of prescriptions per month was 3, and increased from 2 to 4 prescriptions/month after nursing education. There was a smaller increase in the median from 2 to 3 prescriptions/month by ED physicians alone. The order set was used 97% of the time. Conclusion: Bup/nal is safe, effective, and increases follow up with addiction programs for comprehensive assessment and treatment planning. We met our goal of increasing bup/nal prescribing in the ED for AOW by 50%. Moreover, prescribing increased by 100% with the addition of patients who received bup/nal after a referral to the Addiction Medicine Team. The intervention with the greatest impact was RN education, demonstrating that peer-coaching and teaching by an interprofessional team is key to changing practice. Unfortunately, overall prescribing remains low, and ED physicians may still be hesitant to prescribe bup/nal and defer to the specialists. It is unclear if this is due to a low number of patients presenting with AOW, patients with contraindications to bup/nal, or ED physician factors. The next step is an audit of all patients with AOW to see what percentage of those eligible are treated with bup/nal. A follow up survey to determine ongoing barriers will inform further PDSA cycles.
Introduction: Hospital-based gun violence is devastatingly traumatic for everyone present and recent events in Cobourg, Ontario underscore that an active shooter inside the emergency department (ED) is an imminent threat. In June 2016, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) added Code Silver to the list of standardized emergency preparedness colour codes and advised member hospitals to develop policies and train staff on how best to respond. Given that EDs are particularly susceptible to opportunistic breach by an active shooter, the impact of a Code Silver on ED functioning and staff members may be particularly acute. We hypothesized that there may not be a simple, one-size-fits-all-hospital-staff solution about how best to prepare EDs to respond to Code Silver. In order to inform and support future staff training initiatives related to Code Silver and other disaster situations in hospitals, we sought to investigate staff perspectives and behaviour related to personal safety at work and, in particular, an active shooter. Methods: We undertook a qualitative interview study of multi-disciplinary ED staff (MDs, RNs, clericals, allied health, administrators) at a single tertiary care centre in Toronto. The primary methods for data collection were in-depth qualitative interviews and focus groups. Participants were recruited using stakeholder and maximum variation sampling strategies. Data collection and analysis were concurrent and standard thematic analysis techniques were employed. Results: Sixteen (16) staff members participated in interviews and 40 participated in small focus group discussions. Data analysis revealed workplace violence and personal health risks have been normalized as expected, acceptable features of everyday life at work in the ED given that patients are perceived to be sick people in need of help that ED staff are trained for and prepared to provide. In contrast, weapons and active shooters challenge the boundaries of professional responsibility and readiness to respond to Code Silver is perceived by staff as a fallacy. Conclusion: Knowledge from this study gives us crucial insight into important areas for targeted training and opportunities for knowledge translation on the topic of implementing Code Silver in EDs across the country. Future interventions must include how to overcome normalization of workplace violence in the ED setting and negotiating competing professional obligations during crisis situations. Attention to these are crucial if we are to truly keep our staff safe during these traumatic events.
This review focuses on current understanding of prenatal, prepubertal and post-pubertal development of the male reproductive system of cattle. The critical developmental events occur during the first 3 to 4 months of gestation and the first ~6 to 9 months after birth. The Wilms Tumor-1 and SRY proteins play critical roles in early development and differentiation of the fetal testis, which in turn drives gestational development of the entire male reproductive system. The hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis matures earlier in the bovine fetus than other domestic species with descent of the testes into the scrotum occurring around the 4th month of gestation. An array of congenital abnormalities affecting the reproductive system of bulls has been reported and most are considered to be heritable, although the mode of inheritance in most cases has not been fully defined. Early postnatal detection of most of these abnormalities is problematic as clinical signs are generally not expressed until after puberty. Development of genomic markers for these abnormalities would enable early culling of affected calves in seedstock herds. The postnatal early sustained increase in lutenising hormone secretion cues the rapid growth of the testes in the bull calf leading to the onset of puberty. There is good evidence that both genetic and environmental factors, in particular postnatal nutrition, control or influence development and maturation of the reproductive system. For example, in Bos taurus genotypes which have had sustained genetic selection pressure applied for fertility, and where young bulls are managed on a moderate to high plane of nutrition puberty typically occurs at 8 to 12 months of age. However, in many Bos indicus genotypes where there has been little selection pressure for fertility and where young bulls are reared on a low plane of nutrition, puberty typically occurs between 15 to 17 months. Our understanding of the control and expression of sexual behavior in bulls is limited, particularly in B. indicus genotypes.
Introduction: Discharge from the Emergency Department (ED) is a high-risk period for communication failures. Clear verbal and written discharge instructions at patient-level health literacy are fundamental to a safe discharge process. As part of a hospital-wide quality initiative to measure and improve discharge processes, and in response to patient feedback, the St. Michael’s Hospital ED and patient advisors co-designed and implemented patient-centred discharge handouts. Methods: The design and implementation of discharge handouts was based on a collaborative and iterative approach, including stakeholder engagement and patient co-design. Discharge topics were based on the 10 most common historical ED diagnoses. ED patient advisors and the hospital’s plain language review team co-designed and edited materials for readability and comprehension. Process mapping of ED workflow identified opportunities for interventions. Multidisciplinary ED stakeholders co-led implementation, including staff education, training and huddles for feedback. Patient telephone surveys to every 25th patient presenting to the ED meeting the study inclusion criteria (16 years of age or older, directly discharged from the ED, speaks English, has a valid telephone number, and has capacity to consent) were conducted both pre- (June-Sept 2016) and post- (Oct-Dec 2016) implementation. Results: Stakeholder engagement and co-design took place over 10 months. Education was provided across one MD staff meeting, four RN inservices, and at monthly learner orientation. 44846 patients presented to the ED and 25600 met the study inclusion criteria. 935 surveys (response rate=97%; declined n=30) were completed to date. Pre-implementation (n=467), 9.2% (n=43) of patients received printed discharge materials and 71% (n=330) understood symptoms to look for after leaving the ED. Post-implementation (n=468), 44% (n=207) of patients received printed discharge materials with 97% (n=200) finding the handouts helpful and 82% (n=385) understanding symptoms to look for after leaving the ED. Conclusion: Through the introduction of patient co-designed and patient-centred discharge handouts, we have found a marked improvement in patient understanding, and consequently safer discharge practices. Future efforts will focus on optimizing discharge communication, both verbal and written, tailored to individual patient preferences.
Introduction: Patients presenting to the Emergency Department (ED) may require clarification of their goals of care (GOC) to ensure they receive treatments aligned with their values. However, these discussions can be difficult to conduct for multiple reasons, including lack of time in a busy ED, competing priorities and a limited relationship with the patient. Few studies have examined the perceived challenges faced by Emergency Physicians in conducting GOC discussions. This study sought to contextualize and discern the barriers and facilitators to having these conversations as reported by Emergency physicians. Methods: An interdisciplinary team of Emergency Medicine, Palliative Care and Internal Medicine providers developed an online survey comprised of multiple choice, Likert-scale and open-ended questions to explore four domains of GOC discussions: training; communication; environment; and personal beliefs. Invitations and scheduled reminders were sent to 275 ED physicians at six academic sites in a Canadian urban centre, including 49 EM residents. Results: 105 (46%) staff physicians and 23 (47%) residents responded with similar representation from all sites. Differences were reported in the frequency of GOC discussions: 59% of staff physicians conduct several per month whereas 65% of residents conduct less than one per month. Most agreed that GOC discussions are within their scope of practice (92%), they feel comfortable (96%), and are adequately trained (73%) to have them; however, 66% reported difficulty initiating GOC discussions. 73% believed that admitting services should conduct GOC discussions, yet acuity was noted in the comments as a major determinant with initiating GOC discussions by ED physicians. Main barriers identified were lack of time, chaotic environment, lack of advanced directives and the inability to reach substitute decision makers. 54% of respondents indicated that the availability of 24-hour Palliative Care consults would facilitate GOC discussions in the ED. Conclusion: Emergency physicians are prepared to conduct goals of care discussions, but often believe they should instead be conducted by the patient’s admitting service. Multiple perceived barriers to goals of care discussion in the ED were identified, and a majority of respondents felt that the availability of Palliative Care in the ED may facilitate these discussions.
Introduction: Hospital shootings are rare events that pose extreme and immediate risk to staff, patients and visitors. In 2015, the Ontario Hospital Association mandated all hospitals devise an armed assailant Code Silver protocol, an alert issued to mitigate risk and manage casualties. We describe the design and implementation of ASSIST (Active Shooter Simulation In-Situ Training), an institutional, full-scale hybrid simulation exercise to test hospital-wide response and readiness for an active shooter event, and identify latent safety threats (LSTs) related to the high-stakes alert and transport of internal trauma patients. Methods: A hospital-wide in-situ simulation was conducted at a Level 1 trauma centre in downtown Toronto. The two-hour exercise tested a draft Code Silver policy created by the hospital’s disaster planning committee, to identify missing elements and challenges with protocol implementation. The scenario consisted of a shooting during a hospital meeting with three casualties: a manikin with life-threatening head and abdomen gunshot wounds (GSWs), a standardized patient (SP) with hypotension from an abdominal GSW, and a second SP with minor injuries and significant psychological distress. The exercise piloted the use of a novel emergency department (ED)-based medical exfiltration team to transport internal victims to the trauma bay. The on-call trauma team provided medical care. Ethnographic observation of response by municipal police, hospital security, logistics and medical personnel was completed. LSTs were evaluated and categorized using video framework analysis. Feasibility was measured through debriefings and impact on ED workflow. Results: Seventy-six multidisciplinary medical and logistical staff and learners participated in this exercise. Using a framework analysis, the following LSTs were identified: 1) Significant communication difficulties within the shooting area, 2) Safe access and transport for internal casualties, 3) Difficulty accessing hospital resources (blood bank) 4) Challenges coordinating response with external agencies (police, EMS) and 5) Delay in setting up an off-site command centre. Conclusion: In situ simulation represents a novel approach to the development of Code Silver alert processes. Findings from ethnographic observations and a video-based analysis form a framework to address safety, logistical and medical response considerations.
Introduction: Hospital-based gun violence is devastatingly traumatic for everyone present and quite tragically on the rise. The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) has recently designated active shooter situations as “Code Silver” and advised member hospitals to develop policies and train health care workers on how best to respond. Given that emergency departments (ED) are particularly susceptible to opportunistic breach by an active shooter and staff members are likely to be called upon as first responders, the impact of a Code Silver on ED functioning and staff members may be particularly severe. We hypothesized that there may not be a simple, one-size-fits-all-hospital-staff solution about how best to prepare ED physicians and staff to respond to a Code Silver situation. Methods: In order to inform and support future staff training initiatives related to Code Silver and other disaster situations in hospitals, we conducted a robust qualitative study to investigate perspectives and behaviour related to personal safety at work and Code Silver in particular among the multi-disciplinary ED staff at a single tertiary care centre in Toronto, Ontario. Participants for in-depth interviews and focus groups were recruited using a combination of stakeholder and maximum variation sampling strategies. Data analysis occurred in conjunction with data collection and standard thematic analysis techniques were employed. Results: Initial data analysis has revealed the following thematic concepts: the ubiquitous banality of personal health risk as an expected, acceptable feature of everyday life at work for ED staff, the perception of active shooters as a transgressive threat that violates the boundaries of professional responsibility, and the perceived fallacy of “readiness” to respond to disastrous situations. A fulsome analysis will be ready for presentation in June. Conclusion: Knowledge from this study indicates that ED staff members have unique and specific training needs in relation to an active shooter situation, and gives us deeper insight into potential areas of focus for training and opportunities for knowledge translation on the topic of Code Silver for EDs across the country.