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Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCNs) are at an increased risk for physical, developmental, or emotional conditions, and require special services beyond what is typically required by children. Improving emergency preparedness amongst families with CSHCNs has been advocated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
We evaluated the preparedness of children and family members, who are infected, or affected, by HIV illness and require daily medications.
A convenience sample was used to enroll patients and their parents at a pediatric infectious disease clinic. Surveys were used to assess baseline emergency preparedness. Patients were then given an educational intervention on improving personal preparedness. Participants were provided with emergency go-kit and educational materials. Follow up was completed in 30 days to re-assess preparedness by re-administering the initial survey with additional questions.
Thirty-eight patients were enrolled and 10 were lost to follow up. Data from a total of 28 patients were used for study results analyses. Chi-squared testing was used for non-parametric variable analyses for an N < 30. Participants who designated an emergency meeting place outside of their home, post-intervention, were statistically significant-X2 (1) = 29.20, p-value <0.0001. Participants who completed an emergency information form, post-intervention, were statistically significant-X2 (1) = 13.69, p-value <0.0002. Participants who obtained an emergency kit of supplies for 3 days, post-intervention, were statistically significant-X2(1) = 8.92, p-value <0.0028. Participants who obtained a home first aid kit, post-intervention, were statistically significant-X2(1) = 12.16, p-value <0.0005. Five families obtained an emergency supply of medications, post-intervention-X2 (1) = 1.99, p-value = 0.1582. This result was not statistically significant.
This study demonstrates that brief educational intervention has potential to improve the preparedness of CSHCNs, including those living with HIV illness.
The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a national network of community-based volunteer groups created in 2002 by the Office of the United States Surgeon General (Rockville, Maryland USA) to augment the nation’s ability to respond to medical and public health emergencies. However, there is little evidence-based literature available to guide hospitals on the optimal use of medical volunteers and hesitancy on the part of hospitals to use them.
This study sought to determine how MRC volunteers can be used in hospital-based disasters through their participation in a full-scale exercise.
A full-scale exercise was designed as a “Disaster Olympics,” in which the Emergency Medicine residents were divided into teams tasked with completing one of the following five challenges: victim decontamination, mass casualty/decontamination tent assembly, patient triage and registration during a disaster, point of distribution (POD) site set-up and operation, and infection control management. A surge of patients potentially exposed to avian influenza was the scenario created for the latter three challenges. Some MRC volunteers were assigned clinical roles. These roles included serving as members of the suit support team for victim decontamination, distributing medications at the POD, and managing infection control. Other MRC volunteers functioned as “victim evaluators,” who portrayed the potential avian influenza victims while simultaneously evaluating various aspects of the disaster response. The MRC volunteers provided feedback on their experience and evaluators provided feedback on the performance of the MRC volunteers using evaluation tools.
Twenty-eight (90%) MRC volunteers reported that they worked well with the residents and hospital staff, felt the exercise was useful, and were assigned clearly defined roles. However, only 21 (67%) reported that their qualifications were assessed prior to role assignment. For those MRC members who functioned as “victim evaluators,” nine identified errors in aspects of the care they received and the disaster response. Of those who evaluated the MRC, nine (90%) felt that the MRC worked well with the residents and hospital staff. Ten (100%) of these evaluators recommended that MRC volunteers participate in future disaster exercises.
Through use of a full-scale exercise, this study was able to identify roles for MRC volunteers in a hospital-based disaster. This study also found MRC volunteers to be uniquely qualified to serve as “victim evaluators” in a hospital-based disaster exercise.
GistR, DanielP, GrockA, LinC, BryantC, KohlhoffS, RoblinP, ArquillaB. Use of Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers in a Hospital-based Disaster Exercise. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2016;31(3):259–262.
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