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It is unclear which pediatric disaster triage (PDT) strategy yields the best accuracy or best patient outcomes.
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis on a sample of emergency medical services providers from a prospective cohort study comparing the accuracy and triage outcomes for 2 PDT strategies (Smart and JumpSTART) and clinical decision-making (CDM) with no algorithm. Participants were divided into cohorts by triage strategy. We presented 10-victim, multi-modal disaster simulations. A Delphi method determined patients’ expected triage levels. We compared triage accuracy overall and for each triage level (RED/Immediate, YELLOW/Delayed, GREEN/Ambulatory, BLACK/Deceased).
There were 273 participants (71 JumpSTART, 122 Smart, and 81 CDM). There was no significant difference between Smart triage and CDM. When JumpSTART triage was used, there was greater accuracy than with either Smart (P<0.001; OR [odds ratio]: 2.03; interquartile range [IQR]: 1.30, 3.17) or CDM (P=0.02; OR: 1.76; IQR: 1.10, 2.82). JumpSTART outperformed Smart for RED patients (P=0.05; OR: 1.48; IQR: 1.01,2.17), and outperformed both Smart (P<0.001; OR: 3.22; IQR: 1.78,5.88) and CDM (P<0.001; OR: 2.86; IQR: 1.53,5.26) for YELLOW patients. Furthermore, JumpSTART outperformed CDM for BLACK patients (P=0.01; OR: 5.55; IQR: 1.47, 20.0).
Our simulation-based comparison suggested that JumpSTART triage outperforms both Smart and CDM. JumpSTART outperformed Smart for RED patients and CDM for BLACK patients. For YELLOW patients, JumpSTART yielded more accurate triage results than did Smart triage or CDM. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:253–260)
Pediatric disaster medicine (PDM) triage is a vital skill set for pediatricians, and is a required component of residency training by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Simulation training is an effective tool for preparing providers for high-stakes, low-frequency events. Debriefing is a learner-centered approach that affords reflection on one's performance, and increases the efficacy of simulation training. The purpose of this study was to measure the efficacy of a multiple-victim simulation in facilitating learners’ acquisition of pediatric disaster medicine (PDM) skills, including the JumpSTART triage algorithm. It was hypothesized that multiple patient simulations and a structured debriefing would improve triage performance.
A 10-victim school-shooting scenario was created. Victims were portrayed by adult volunteers, and by high- and low-fidelity simulation manikins that responded physiologically to airway maneuvers. Learners were pediatrics residents. Expected triage levels were not revealed. After a didactic session, learners completed the first simulation. Learners assigned triage levels to all victims, and recorded responses on a standardized form. A group structured debriefing followed the first simulation. The debriefing allowed learners to review the victims and discuss triage rationale. A new 10-victim trauma disaster scenario was presented one week later, and a third scenario was presented five months later. During the second and third scenarios, learners again assigned triage levels to multiple victims. Wilcoxon sign rank tests were used to compare pre- and post-test scores and performance on pre- and post-debriefing simulations.
A total of 53 learners completed the educational intervention. Initial mean triage performance was 6.9/10 patients accurately triaged (range = 5-10, SD = 1.3); one week after the structured debriefing, the mean triage performance improved to 8.0/10 patients (range = 5-10, SD = 1.37, P < .0001); five months later, there was maintenance of triage improvement, with a mean triage score of 7.8/10 patients (SD = 1.33, P < .0001).
Over-triage of an uninjured child with special health care needs (CSHCN) (67.8% of learners prior to debriefing, 49.0% one week post-debriefing, 26.2% five months post-debriefing) and under-triage of head-injured, unresponsive patients (41.2% of learners pre-debriefing, 37.5% post-debriefing, 11.0% five months post-debriefing) were the most common errors.
Structured debriefings are a key component of PDM simulation education, and resulted in improved triage accuracy; the improvement was maintained five months after the educational intervention. Future curricula should emphasize assessment of CSHCN and head-injured patients.
Cicero MX, Auerbach MA, Zigmont J, Riera A, Ching K, Baum CR. Simulation training with structured debriefing improves residents’ pediatric disaster triage performance. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(3):1-6.
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