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Terrorism and natural catastrophes have made disaster preparedness a critical issue. Despite the documented vulnerabilities of children during and following disasters, gaps remain in health care systems regarding pediatric disaster preparedness. This research study examined changes in knowledge acquisition of pediatric disaster preparedness among medical and non-medical personnel at a children’s hospital who completed an online training course of five modules: planning, triage, age-specific care, disaster management, and hospital emergency code response.
A multi-disciplinary team within the Pediatric Disaster Resource and Training Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (Los Angeles, California USA) developed an online training course. Available archival course data from July 2009 to August 2012 were analyzed through linear growth curve multi-level modeling, with module total score as the outcome (0 to 100 points), attempt as the Level 1 variable (any module could be repeated), role in the hospital (medical or non-medical) as the Level 2 variable, and attempt by role as the cross-level effect.
A total of 44,115 module attempts by 5,773 course participants (3,686 medical personnel and 2,087 non-medical personnel) were analyzed. The average module total score upon first attempt across all participants ranged from 60.28 to 80.11 points, and participants significantly varied in how they initially scored. On average in the planning, triage, and age-specific care modules: total scores significantly increased per attempt across all participants (average rate of change ranged from 0.59 to 1.84 points) and medical personnel had higher total scores initially and through additional attempts (average difference ranged from 13.25 to 16.24 points). Cross-level effects were significant in the disaster management and hospital emergency code response modules: on average, total scores were initially lower among non-medical personnel compared to medical personnel, but non-medical personnel increased their total scores per attempt by 3.77 points in the disaster management module and 6.40 points in the hospital emergency code response module, while medical personnel did not improve their total scores through additional attempts.
Medical and non-medical hospital personnel alike can acquire knowledge of pediatric disaster preparedness. Key content can be reinforced or improved through successive training in an online course.
PhamPK, BeharSM, BergBM, UppermanJS, NagerAL. Pediatric Online Disaster Preparedness Training for Medical and Non-Medical Personnel: A Multi-Level Modeling AnalysisPrehosp Disaster Med.2018;33(4):349–354.
Children are particularly vulnerable during disasters and mass-casualty incidents. Coordinated multi-hospital training exercises may help health care facilities prepare for pediatric disaster victims.
The purpose of this study was to use mixed methods to assess the disaster response of three hospitals, focusing on pediatric disaster victims.
A full-functional disaster exercise involving a simulated 7.8-magnitude earthquake was conducted at three Los Angeles (California USA) hospitals, one of which is a freestanding designated Level I Pediatric Trauma Center. Exercise participants provided quantitative and qualitative feedback regarding their perceptions of pediatric disaster response during the exercise in the form of surveys and interviews. Additionally, trained observers provided qualitative feedback and recommendations regarding aspects of emergency response during the exercise, including communication, equipment and supplies, pediatric safety, security, and training.
According to quantitative participant feedback, the disaster exercise enhanced respondents’ perceived preparedness to care for the pediatric population during a mass-casualty event. Further, qualitative feedback from exercise participants and observers revealed opportunities to improve multiple aspects of emergency response, such as communication, equipment availability, and physician participation. Additionally, participants and observers reported opportunities to improve safety and security of children, understanding of staff roles and responsibilities, and implementation of disaster triage exercises.
Consistent with previous investigations of pediatric disaster preparedness, evaluation of the exercise revealed several opportunities for all hospitals to improve their ability to respond to the needs of pediatric victims. Quantitative and qualitative feedback from both participants and observers was useful for comprehensively assessing the exercise's successes and obstacles. The present study has identified several opportunities to improve the current state of all hospitals’ pediatric disaster preparedness, through increased training on pediatric disaster triage methods and additional training on the safety and security of children. Regular assessment and evaluation of supplies, equipment, leadership assignments, and inter-hospital communication is also suggested to optimize the effectiveness and efficiency of response to pediatric victims in a disaster.
BurkeRV, KimTY, BachmanSL, IversonEI, BergBM. Using Mixed Methods to Assess Pediatric Disaster Preparedness in the Hospital Setting. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2014;29(6): 1-7.
Faith-based organizations represent a source of stability and are an established presence in a community. They frequently serve their community following disasters. They are not formally included or identified as a disaster resource; thus, there is an opportunity to increase the effectiveness with which faith-based organizations prepare for and respond to disasters.
This pilot study aimed to assess perceptions of the level of disaster preparedness and resiliency among faith-based organizations as a first step in understanding how to improve disaster preparedness and resiliency among these organizations and their communities.
Survey and semi-structured interviews were conducted with six faith-based organizations, one with a leader and one with a staff member. Frequency distributions of survey questions were obtained. Interviews were transcribed and thematic analysis was supported by analytical software, ATLAS. ti.
Results of the survey indicated strong social networks among congregation and community members. However, half of the members indicated that they did not socialize often with other races and other neighborhoods. Additionally, trust of other groups of people was generally low. Themes that emerged from qualitative analysis were: (1) perceived disaster preparedness and resiliency; (2) barriers to community preparedness and resiliency; (3) lessons learned from past disasters; (4) social services and networks; and (5) willingness to be prepared.
The results suggest that there is a need for interventions to improve disaster preparedness and resiliency among faith-based organizations.
MullerV, BurkeR, BergB, LinA, UppermanJ. A Mixed-methods Pilot Study of Disaster Preparedness and Resiliency Among Faith-based Organizations. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2014;29(2):1-7.
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