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Background: Blood cultures are commonly ordered for patients with low risk of bacteremia. Liberal blood-culture ordering increases the risk of false-positive results, which can lead to increased length of stay, excess antibiotics, and unnecessary diagnostic procedures. We implemented a blood-culture indication algorithm with data feedback and assessed the impact on ordering volume and percent positivity. Methods: We performed a prospective cohort study from February 2022 to November 2022 using historical controls from February 2020 to January 2022. We introduced the blood-culture algorithm (Fig. 1) in 2 adult surgical intensive care units (ICUs). Clinicians reviewed charts of eligible patients with blood cultures weekly to determine whether the blood-culture algorithm was followed. They provided feedback to the unit medical directors weekly. We defined a blood-culture event as ≥1 blood culture within 24 hours. We excluded patients aged <18 years, absolute neutrophil count <500, and heart and lung transplant recipients at the time of blood-culture review. Results: In total, 7,315 blood-culture events in the preintervention group and 2,506 blood-culture events in the postintervention group met eligibility criteria. The average monthly blood-culture rate decreased from 190 blood cultures per 1,000 patient days to 142 blood cultures per 1,000 patient days (P < .01) after the algorithm was implemented. (Fig. 2) The average monthly blood-culture positivity increased from 11.7% to 14.2% (P = .13). Average monthly days of antibiotic therapy (DOT) was lower in the postintervention period than in the preintervention period (2,200 vs 1,940; P < .01). (Fig. 3) The ICU length of stay did not change before the intervention compared to after the intervention: 10 days (IQR, 5–18) versus 10 days (IQR, 5–17; P = .63). The in-hospital mortality rate was lower during the postintervention period, but the difference was not statistically significant: 9.24% versus 8.34% (P = .17). The all-cause 30-day mortality was significantly lower during the intervention period: 11.9% versus 9.7% (P < .01). The unplanned 30-day readmission percentage was significantly lower during the intervention period (10.6% vs 7.6%; P < .01). Over the 9-month intervention, we reviewed 916 blood-culture events in 452 unique patients. Overall, 74.6% of blood cultures followed the algorithm. The most common reasons overall for ordering blood cultures were severe sepsis or septic shock (37%), isolated fever and/or leukocytosis (19%), and documenting clearance of bacteremia (15%) (Table 1). The most common indications for inappropriate blood cultures were isolated fever and/or leukocytosis (53%). Conclusions: We introduced a blood-culture algorithm with data feedback in 2 surgical ICUs and observed decreases in blood-culture volume without a negative impact on ICU LOS or mortality rate.
Background: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emerging Infections Program conducts active laboratory- and population-based surveillance for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) and extended spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacterales (ESBL-E). To better understand the U.S. epidemiology of these organisms among children, we determined the incidence of pediatric CRE and ESBL-E cases and described their clinical characteristics. Methods: Surveillance was conducted among children <18 years of age for CRE from 2016–2020 in 10 sites, and for ESBL-E from 2019–2020 in 6 sites. Among catchment-area residents, an incident CRE case was defined as the first isolation of Escherichia coli, Enterobacter cloacae complex, Klebsiella aerogenes, K. oxytoca, or K. pneumoniae in a 30-day period resistant to ≥1 carbapenem from a normally sterile site or urine. An incident ESBL-E case was defined as the first isolation of E. coli, K. pneumoniae, or K. oxytoca in a 30-day period resistant to any third-generation cephalosporin and non-resistant to all carbapenems from a normally sterile site or urine. Case records were reviewed. Results: Among 159 CRE cases, 131 (82.9%) were isolated from urine and 19 (12.0%) from blood; median age was 5 years (IQR 1–10) and 94 (59.1%) were female. Combined CRE incidence rate per 100,000 population by year ranged from 0.47 to 0.87. Among 207 ESBL-E cases, 160 (94.7%) were isolated from urine and 6 (3.6%) from blood; median age was 6 years (IQR 2–15) and 165 (79.7%) were female. Annual ESBL incidence rate per 100,000 population was 26.5 in 2019 and 19.63 in 2020. Incidence rates of CRE and ESBL-E were >2-fold higher in infants (children <1 year) than other age groups. Among those with data available, CRE cases were more likely than ESBL-E cases to have underlying conditions (99/158 [62.7%] versus 59/169 [34.9%], P<0.0001), prior healthcare exposures (74/158 [46.8%] versus 38/169 [22.5%], P<0.0001), and be hospitalized for any reason around time of their culture collection (75/158 [47.5%] versus 38/169 [22.5%], P<0.0001); median duration of admission was 18 days [IQR 3–103] for CRE versus 10 days [IQR 4–43] for ESBL-E. Urinary tract infection was the most frequent infection for CRE (89/158 [56.3%]) and ESBL-E (125/169 [74.0%]) cases. Conclusion: CRE infections occurred less frequently than ESBL-infections in U.S. children but were more often associated with healthcare risk factors and hospitalization. Infants had highest incidence of CRE and ESBL-E. Continued surveillance, infection prevention and control efforts, and antibiotic stewardship outside and within pediatric care are needed
Background:Candida auris is a frequently drug-resistant yeast that can cause invasive disease and is easily transmitted in healthcare settings. Pediatric cases are rare in the United States, with <10 reported before 2022. In August 2021, the first C. auris case in Las Vegas was identified in an adult. By May 2022, 117 cases were identified across 16 healthcare facilities, including 3 pediatric cases at an acute-care hospital (ACH) with adult cases, representing the first pediatric cluster in the United States. The CDC and Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (NVDPBH) sought to describe these cases and risk factors for C. auris acquisition. Methods: We defined a case as a patient’s first positive C. auris specimen. We reviewed medical records and infection prevention and control (IPC) practices. Environmental sampling was conducted on high-touch surfaces throughout affected adult and pediatric units. Isolate relatedness was assessed using whole-genome sequencing (WGS). Results: All 3 pediatric patients were born at the facility and had congenital heart defects. All were aged <6 months when they developed C. auris bloodstream infections; 2 developed C. auris endocarditis. One patient died. Patients overlapped in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit; 2 did not leave between birth and C. auris infection. Mobile medical equipment was shared between adult and pediatric patients; lapses in cleaning and disinfection of shared mobile medical equipment and environmental surfaces were observed, presenting opportunities for transmission. Overall, 32 environmental samples were collected, and C. auris was isolated from 2 specimens from an adult unit without current cases. One was a composite sample from an adult patient’s bed handles, railings, tray table and call buttons, and the second was from an adult lift-assistance device. WGS of specimens from adult and pediatric cases and environmental isolates were in the same genetic cluster, with 2–10 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) different, supporting within-hospital transmission. The pediatric cases varied by 0–3 SNPs; at least 2 were highly related. Conclusions:C. auris was likely introduced to the pediatric population from adults via inadequately cleaned and disinfected mobile medical equipment. We made recommendations to ensure adequate cleaning and disinfection and implement monitoring and audits. No pediatric cases have been identified since. This investigation demonstrates transmission can occur between unrelated units and populations and that robust infection prevention and control practices throughout the facility are critical for reducing C. auris environmental burden and limiting transmission, including to previously unaffected vulnerable populations, like children.
In this article, we consider the role that academics play in the global illicit trade in cultural objects. Academics connect sources to buyers and influence market values by publishing looted and stolen cultural objects (passive facilitation) and by collaborating with market players, including by collecting artifacts themselves (active facilitation). Their actions shape market desire, changing what is targeted for looting, theft, and illicit trading across borders. However, this crucial facilitative role often goes unnoticed or unaddressed in scholarship on collecting, white collar crime, and the illicit market in cultural objects. This article explores the importance of academic facilitation through a case study of the career of Mary Slusser, a renowned American scholar of Nepali art and art history.
Postgraduate education is important in preparing and enhancing health professionals for the practice of disaster and terror medicine. The World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM) has formulated a standardized international perspective for education and training in disaster medicine and health. Notwithstanding, there continues to be a reported gap in competency-based training in disaster and terror medicine internationally, particularly across Asia Pacific, which is a known vulnerable region. We report on a new Graduate Diploma in Disaster and Terror Medicine, to be expanded to Master level in 2024. The course is delivered mainly online to a multidisciplinary international audience. This paper summarizes the development of the course and outlines the key influences that have contributed to the design of the course.
A survey of the critical care workforce conducted by the Department of Critical Care at the University of Melbourne in early 2020 identified the need to develop education in disaster and terror medicine. A market and competitor analysis identified there was a gap in clinician focused courses offered in Australia and internationally. Based upon these results, a new course was developed to meet these needs.
Based on the results of the survey and feedback from expert stakeholders, the new postgraduate courses in disaster and terror medicine were developed. They offer both core and elective subjects, utilizing a modular approach with supervised simulation and practical training. The courses incorporate problem-based learning, the principles and practices of online education and advances in simulation-based learning, providing both a public health and clinical lens.
The nested suite of postgraduate disaster and terror medicine courses at the University of Melbourne is at the forefront of learning within this field and meets the contemporary needs of health professionals who practice disaster and terror medicine
This retrospective review of 4-year surveillance data revealed a higher central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) rate in non-Hispanic Black patients and higher catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) rates in Asian and non-Hispanic Black patients compared with White patients despite similar catheter utilization between the groups.
The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically altered social determinants of health including work, education, social connections, movement, and perceived control; and loneliness was commonly experienced. This longitudinal study examined how social determinants at the personal (micro), community (meso), and societal (macro) levels predicted loneliness during the pandemic.
Participants were 2056 Australian adults surveyed up to three times over 18 months in 2020 and 2021. Multi-level mixed-effect regressions were conducted predicting loneliness from social determinants at baseline and two follow-ups.
Loneliness was associated with numerous micro determinants: male gender, lifetime diagnosis of a mental health disorder, experience of recent stressful event(s), low income, living alone or couples with children, living in housing with low natural light, noise, and major building defects. Lower resilience and perceived control over health and life were also associated with greater loneliness. At the meso level, reduced engagement with social groups, living in inner regional areas, and living in neighbourhoods with low levels of belongingness and collective resilience was associated with increased loneliness. At the macro level, increased loneliness was associated with State/Territory of residence.
Therapeutic initiatives must go beyond psychological intervention, and must recognise the social determinants of loneliness at the meso and macro levels.
Infants and children born with CHD are at significant risk for neurodevelopmental delays and abnormalities. Individualised developmental care is widely recognised as best practice to support early neurodevelopment for medically fragile infants born premature or requiring surgical intervention after birth. However, wide variability in clinical practice is consistently demonstrated in units caring for infants with CHD. The Cardiac Newborn Neuroprotective Network, a Special Interest Group of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative, formed a working group of experts to create an evidence-based developmental care pathway to guide clinical practice in hospital settings caring for infants with CHD. The clinical pathway, “Developmental Care Pathway for Hospitalized Infants with Congenital Heart Disease,” includes recommendations for standardised developmental assessment, parent mental health screening, and the implementation of a daily developmental care bundle, which incorporates individualised assessments and interventions tailored to meet the needs of this unique infant population and their families. Hospitals caring for infants with CHD are encouraged to adopt this developmental care pathway and track metrics and outcomes using a quality improvement framework.
The development of wearable technology, which enables motion tracking analysis for human movement outside the laboratory, can improve awareness of personal health and performance. This study used a wearable smart sock prototype to track foot–ankle kinematics during gait movement. Multivariable linear regression and two deep learning models, including long short-term memory (LSTM) and convolutional neural networks, were trained to estimate the joint angles in sagittal and frontal planes measured by an optical motion capture system. Participant-specific models were established for ten healthy subjects walking on a treadmill. The prototype was tested at various walking speeds to assess its ability to track movements for multiple speeds and generalize models for estimating joint angles in sagittal and frontal planes. LSTM outperformed other models with lower mean absolute error (MAE), lower root mean squared error, and higher R-squared values. The average MAE score was less than 1.138° and 0.939° in sagittal and frontal planes, respectively, when training models for each speed and 2.15° and 1.14° when trained and evaluated for all speeds. These results indicate wearable smart socks to generalize foot–ankle kinematics over various walking speeds with relatively low error and could consequently be used to measure gait parameters without the need for a lab-constricted motion capture system.
Pragmatic trials aim to generate timely evidence while ensuring feasibility, minimizing practice burden, and maintaining real-world conditions. We conducted rapid-cycle qualitative research in the preimplementation period of a trial evaluating a community paramedic program to shorten and prevent hospitalizations. Between December 2021 and March 2022, interviews (n = 30) and presentations/discussions (n = 17) were conducted with clinical and administrative stakeholders. Two investigators analyzed interview and presentation data to identify potential trial challenges, and team reflections were used to develop responsive strategies. Solutions were implemented prior to the commencement of trial enrollment and were aimed at bolstering feasibility and building ongoing practice feedback loops.
To increase inclusivity, diversity, equity and accessibility in Antarctic science, we must build more positive and inclusive Antarctic field work environments. The International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC) has engaged in efforts to contribute to that goal through a variety of activities since 2018, including creating an open-access ‘Field and Ship Best Practices’ guide, engaging in pre-field season team dynamics meetings, and surveying post-field season reflections and experiences. We report specific actions taken by ITGC and their outcomes. We found that strong and supported early career researchers brought new and important perspectives regarding strategies for transforming culture. We discovered that engaged and involved senior leadership was also critical for expanding participation and securing funding to support efforts. Pre-field discussions involving all field team members were particularly helpful for setting expectations, improving sense of belonging, describing field work best practices, and co-creating a positive work culture.
With the exponential growth in investment attention to brain health—solutions spanning brain wellness to mental health to neurological disorders—tech giants, payers, and biotechnology companies have been making forays into this field to identify technology solutions and pharmaceutical amplifiers. So far, their investments have had mixed results. The concept of open innovation (OI) was first coined by Henry Chesbrough to describe the paradigm by which enterprises allow free flow of ideas, products, and services from the outside to the inside and vice versa in order to remain competitive, particularly in rapidly evolving fields where there is abundant, relevant knowledge outside the traditional walls of the enterprise. In this article, we advocate for further exploration and advancement of OI in brain health.
Water stress and weed competition are critical stressors during corn (Zea mays L.) development. Genetic improvements in corn have resulted in hybrids with greater tolerance to abiotic and biotic stressors; however, drought stress remains problematic. Therefore, in light of the anticipated change in precipitation throughout the Great Lakes Region, greenhouse experiments were conducted to evaluate water stress and weed competition on drought-tolerant corn performance. The study followed a completely randomized block design with four replications. Factorial treatment combinations consisted of drought-tolerant corn competition (presence or absence), water stress (100% or 50% volumetric water content [VWC]), and nine corn:common lambsquarters (Chenopodium album L., CHEAL) densities. Corn and C. album growth parameters were measured at 14 and 21 d after water-stress initiation. To explore the impact of reduced soil moisture and weed competition on corn and C. album growth parameters, photosynthetic response, and biomass, linear mixed-effects and nonlinear regression models were constructed in R. Chenopodium album biomass was reduced by 46% and 50% under corn competition at 2 and 4 weeds pot−1 (P = 0.0003, 0.0004). However, introducing crop competition under 6 and 9 weeds pot−1 did not reduce C. album biomass (P = 0.90, 1.00). Averaged across weed pressures, corn biomass was 22% less when grown under 50% compared with 100% VWC (P = 0.0003). However, averaged across VWC values, increasing weed competition from 0 to 2 (P = 0.04), 4 (P = <0.0001), 6 (P = 0.0002), or 9 (P = 0.0002) weeds pot−1 reduced biomass by 22%, 38%, 35%, and 36%. Overall, water stress and C. album competition negatively affected the parameters measured in this study; however, the magnitude of reduction is stronger under drought stress than increasing weed competition when water is not limiting. Therefore, field crop growers must modify current integrated weed management programs to maintain yield under future climate stress.
Background: Central-line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) arise from bacteria migrating from the skin along the catheter, by direct inoculation, or from pathogens that form biofilms on the interior surface of the catheter. However, given the oxygen-poor environments that obligate anaerobes require, these organisms are unlikely to survive long enough on the skin or on the catheter after direct inoculation to be the true cause of a CLABSI. Although some anaerobic CLABSIs may meet the definition for a mucosal-barrier-injury, laboratory-confirmed, bloodstream infection (MBI-LCBI), some may be not. We sought to determine the proportion of CLABSIs attributed to obligate anaerobic bacteria, and we sought to determine the pathophysiologic source of these infections. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected CLABSI data at 54 hospitals (academic and community) in the southeastern United States from January 2015 to December 2020. We performed chart reviews on a convenient sample for which medical records were available. We calculated the proportion of CLABSIs due to obligate anaerobes, and we have described a subset of anaerobic CLABSI cases. Results: We identified 60 anaerobic CLABSIs of 2,430 CLABSIs (2.5%). Of the 60 anaerobic CLABSIs, 7 were polymicrobial with nonanaerobic bacteria. The most common species we identified were Bacteroides, Clostridium, and Lactobacillus (Table 1). The proportion of anaerobic CLABSIs per year varied from 1.2% to 3.7% (Fig. 1). Of 60 anaerobic CLABSIs, 29 (48%) occurred in the only quaternary-care academic medical center in the database. In contrast, an average of 0.6 (SD, 0.6) anaerobic CLABSIs occurred in the 53 community hospitals over the 6-year study period. Of these 29 anaerobic CLABSIs, 23 (79%) were clinically consistent with secondary bloodstream infections (BSIs) due to gastrointestinal or genitourinary source, but they lacked appropriate documentation to meet NHSN criteria for secondary BSI or MBI-LCBI based on case reviews by infection prevention physicians. The other 6 anaerobic CLABSIs did not have a clear clinical etiology and did not meet MBI-LCBI criteria. In addition, 27 (93%) of 29 anaerobic CLABSIs occurred in patients who were either solid-organ transplant recipients, were stem-cell transplant recipients, or were receiving chemotherapy. Lastly, 27 (93%) of 29 anaerobic CLABSIs were treated with antibiotics. Conclusions: Anaerobic CLABSIs are uncommon events, but CLABSI may disproportionately affect large, academic hospitals caring for a high proportion of medically complex patients. Additional criteria could be added to the MBI-LCBI to better classify anaerobic BSI.
Background: Racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare access, medical treatment, and outcomes have been extensively reported. However, the impact of racial and ethnic differences in patient safety, including healthcare-associated infections, has not been well described. Methods: We performed a retrospective review analyzing prospectively collected data on central-line–associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) and catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) rates per 1,000 device days. Data for adult patients admitted to an academic medical center between 2018 and 2021 were stratified by 7 racial and ethnic groups: non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and othe. The “other” group was composed of bi- or multiracial patients, or those for whom no data were reported. We compared the CLABSI and CAUTI rates between the different racial and ethnic groups using Poisson regression. Results: Compared to non-Hispanic White patients, the rate of CLABSI was significantly higher in non-Hispanic Black patients (1.27; 95% CI, 1.02–1.58; P < .03) and those in the “other” race category (1.79; 95% CI, 1.39–2.30; P < .001, respectively), and these trends increased in Hispanic/Latino patients (Table 1). Similarly, Black patients had higher rates of CAUTI (1.42; 95% CI, 1.05–1.92; P < .02), as did Asian patients (2.49; 95% CI, 1.16–5.36; P < .02), and patients in the “other” category (1.52; 95% CI, 1.06–2.18; P < .02) (Table 2). Conclusions: Racial and ethnic minorities may be vulnerable to a higher rate of patient safety events, including CLABSIs and CAUTIs. Additional analyses controlling for potential confounding factors are needed to better understand the relationship between race or ethnicity, clinical management, and healthcare-associated infections. This evaluation is essential to inform mitigation strategies and to provide optimum, equitable care for all.
Using physiological markers to detect patients at risk of deterioration is common. Deaths at music festivals in Australia prompted scrutiny of tools to identify critically unwell patients for transport to hospital. This study evaluated initial physiological parameters to identify patients selected for transport to hospital from a music festival.
A retrospective audit of 2045 presentations at music festivals in Victoria, Australia, was performed. Presentation heart rate, systolic blood pressure, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, temperature, and Glasgow Coma Scale were assessed using area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) analysis, with a prespecified threshold of 0.7.
The only measured variable to exceed the prespecified cutpoint was initial systolic blood pressure, with an AUROC of 0.72 and optimal cutpoint of 122 mmHg. Using commonly accepted cutpoints for variables did not improve detection performance to acceptable levels, nor did using combination systems of cutpoints.
Initial physiological variables are poor predictors of the decision to transport to hospital from music festivals. Systolic blood pressure was significant, but only at a clinically insignificant value. Decisions on which patients to transport from an event site should incorporate more information than initial physiology. Senior clinicians should lead decision-making about hospital transport from music festivals.
The 2019-2020 “Black Summer” bushfires in Australia focused the attention of the nation on the critical role that volunteer firefighters play in the response to such a disaster, spurring a national conversation about how to best support those on the frontline. The objective of this research was to explore the impact of the Black Summer bushfires on volunteer firefighter well-being and to investigate how to deliver effective well-being support.
An explorative qualitative design underpinned by a phenomenological approach was applied. Participant recruitment followed a multi-modal sampling strategy and data were collected through semi-structured, in-depth interviews.
Qualitative data were collected from 58 participants aged from 23 to 61-years-of-age (average age of 46 years). All self-reported as volunteer firefighters who had responded to the Black Summer bushfires in Australia. Just over 80% of participants were male and the majority lived in the Australian states of New South Wales (65%) and Victoria (32%). All participants reported impact on their well-being, resulting from cumulative trauma exposure, responding to fires in local communities, intense work demands, minimal intervals between deployments, and disruption to primary employment. In regard to supporting well-being, four key themes emerged from data analysis: (1) Well-being support needs to be both proactive and reactive and empower local leaders to “reach in” while encouraging responders to “reach out;” (2) Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) should not be the only well-being support option available; (3) The sharing of lived experience is important; and (4) Support programs need to address self-stigmatization.
Participants in this research identified that effective well-being support needs to be both proactive and reactive and holistic in approach.
A substantial body of research exists regarding vicarious trauma (VT) exposure among helping professionals across disciplines and settings. There is limited research, however, on exposure to VT in qualitative researchers studying traumatized populations. The objective of this study was to explore the experiences of qualitative researchers who study traumatized populations and to identify potential protective strategies for reducing the risk of VT.
The study utilized a qualitative methodological design. Focus groups and in-depth interviews were conducted using a semi-structured script. Thematic analysis was conducted to identify both risk factors and protective factors associated with VT. A sample of 58 research participants were recruited using a multimodal recruitment strategy.
Using thematic analysis, the following key themes emerged: exposure to primary trauma, the impact of stigma, organizational context, individual context, and research context. The opportunity for posttraumatic growth was also identified.
Qualitative researchers of traumatized populations need to recognize the potential for VT and implement appropriate protection strategies from the risk of VT. The development of policies and guidelines that recognize the importance of both self-care and plan for researcher safety and well-being is a potential strategy for building researcher resilience and preventing VT.
As the understanding of health care worker lived experience during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) grows, the experiences of those utilizing emergency health care services (EHS) during the pandemic are yet to be fully appreciated.
The objective of this research was to explore lived experience of EHS utilization in Victoria, Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic from March 2020 through March 2021.
An explorative qualitative design underpinned by a phenomenological approach was applied. Data were collected through semi-structured, in-depth interviews, which were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using Colaizzi’s approach.
Qualitative data were collected from 67 participants aged from 32 to 78-years-of-age (average age of 52). Just over one-half of the research participants were male (54%) and three-quarters lived in metropolitan regions (75%). Four key themes emerged from data analysis: (1) Concerns regarding exposure and infection delayed EHS utilization among participants with chronic health conditions; (2) Participants with acute health conditions expressed concern regarding the impact of COVID-19 on their care, but continued to access services as required; (3) Participants caring for people with sensory and developmental disabilities identified unique communication needs during interactions with EHS during the COVID-19 pandemic; communicating with emergency health care workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) was identified as a key challenge, with face masks reported as especially problematic for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing; and (4) Children and older people also experienced communication challenges associated with PPE, and the need for connection with emergency health care workers was important for positive lived experience during interactions with EHS throughout the pandemic.
This research provides an important insight into the lived experience of EHS utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic, a perspective currently lacking in the published peer-reviewed literature.