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Trauma systems have been widely implemented across Canada, but access to trauma care remains a challenge for much of the population. This study aims to develop and validate a model to quantify the accessibility of definitive care within one provincial trauma system and identify populations with poor access to trauma care.
A geographic information system (GIS) was used to generate models of pre-scene and post-scene intervals, respectively. Models were validated using a population-based trauma registry containing data on prehospital time intervals and injury locations for Nova Scotia (NS). Validated models were then applied to describe the population-level accessibility of trauma care for the NS population as well as a cohort of patients injured in motor vehicle collisions (MVCs).
Predicted post-scene intervals were found to be highly correlated with documented post-scene intervals (β 1.05, p<0.001). Using the model, it was found that 88.1% and 42.7% of the population had access to Level III and Level I trauma care within 60 minutes of prehospital time from their residence, respectively. Access for victims of MVCs was lower, with 84.3% and 29.7% of the cohort having access to Level III and Level I trauma care within 60 minutes of the location of injury, respectively.
GIS models can be used to identify populations with poor access to care and inform service planning in Canada. Although only 43% of the provincial population has access to Level I care within 60 minutes, the majority of the population of NS has access to Level III trauma care.
Unlike in adults, there are currently no standardized, validated guidelines to aid practitioners in clearing the pediatric cervical spine (C-spine). Many pediatric centres in Canada have locally produced, adult-modified guidelines, but the extent to which these or other guidelines are used is unknown.
The purpose of this study was to determine if Canadian physicians are using either locally produced or adult C-spine guidelines to clear the C- spines of patients < 16 years of age. The study also characterized the common methods used by physicians to clear pediatric C-spine injuries in terms of clinical examination and radiologic imaging.
A 20-question survey was distributed to 240 Canadian pediatric emergency physicians and trauma team leaders using the Dillman Total Design Method.
The response rate was 68%. The results showed that 61% of physicians currently use guidelines to assist in the clearance of pediatric C-spines. Of those physicians not using guidelines, 85% stated that they would use them if they were available. The clinical criteria most often used to clear pediatric C-spines were a normal neurologic examination (97%) and the absence of C-spine tenderness (95%), intoxication (94%), and distracting injuries (87%).
Guidelines are commonly used by Canadian physicians when clearing the pediatric C-spine, yet few are validated in children. Those most commonly used are locally developed guidelines, the Canadian C-spine guidelines, or National Emergency X-Radiography Utilization Study (NEXUS) low-risk criteria.
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