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Nurses and respiratory therapists are seldom allowed to use automated external defibrillators (AED) during in-hospital cardiac arrest. This can result in significant time delays before defibrillation occurs and lower survival for cardiac arrest victims. We sought to identify barriers and facilitators to AED use by nurses and respiratory therapists.
We conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews with a purposeful sample of nurses and respiratory therapists. We developed the interview guide based on the constructs of the theory of planned behaviour, which elicits salient attitudes, social influences, and control beliefs potentially influencing the intent to use an AED. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed until achieving data saturation. Two independent reviewers performed inductive analyses to identify emerging categories and themes, and ranked them by frequency of the number of participants stating the topic.
Demographics for the 24 interviewees include mean age 40.5, 79.2% female, 87.5% performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), 29.2% defibrillated a patient. Identified attitudes pertained to the timeliness of defibrillation, patient survival, simplicity of AED use, accuracy of rhythm recognition, and harm to self or others. Social influences consisted of physician and hospital administration support of AED use. Control beliefs included training on AED use, policy allowing AED use, familiarity with AED, and task burden during resuscitation.
Most nurses and respiratory therapists intended to use an AED if permitted to do so by a medical directive. Successful implementation would require educational initiatives focusing on safety and efficacy of AEDs, support from physicians and hospital administrators, and additional training on AED use.
The general objective of this study was to explore the challenges of establishing an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OOHCA) surveillance program in Canada. More specifically, we attempted to determine the organizational structure of the delivery of emergency medical services (EMS) in Canada, describe the cardiac arrest data collection infrastructure in each province and determine which OOHCA variables are being collected.
We conducted a national survey of 82 independent EMS health authorities in Canada. Methodology experts developed the survey and distribution using a modified Dillman technique. We distributed 67 surveys electronically (84%) and the rest by regular mail. We weighted each survey response by the population of the catchment area represented by the responding health authority (2004 census). Descriptive statistics are reported.
We received 60 completed surveys, representing a 73% response rate. The responding health authorities' catchment areas represented 80% of the Canadian population (territories excluded). Our survey results highlight a lack of common OOHCA data definitions used among health authorities, sporadic use of data quality assurance procedures, rare linkages to in-hospital survival outcomes and potential confidentiality issues. Other challenges raised by respondents included determining warehousing location and finding financial resources for a national OOHCA registry.
Results from this survey demonstrate that, although it is challenging, it is possible to collect OOHCA data and access in-hospital survival outcomes. Collaborative efforts with the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium and other potential provincial partners should be explored.
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