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To make pragmatic recommendations on best practices for the engagement of patients in emergency medicine (EM) research.
We created a panel of expert Canadian EM researchers, physicians, and a patient partner to develop our recommendations. We used mixed methods consisting of 1) a literature review; 2) a survey of Canadian EM researchers; 3) qualitative interviews with key informants; and 4) feedback during the 2017 Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) Academic Symposium.
We synthesized our literature review into categories including identification and engagement, patients’ roles, perceived benefits, harms, and barriers to patient engagement; 40/75 (53% response rate) invited researchers completed our survey. Among respondents, 58% had engaged patients in research, and 83% intended to engage patients in future research. However, 95% stated that they need further guidance to engage patients. Our qualitative interviews revealed barriers to patient engagement, including the need for training and patient partner recruitment.
Our panel recommends 1) an overarching positive recommendation to support patient engagement in EM research; 2) seven policy-level recommendations for CAEP to support the creation of a national patient council, to develop, adopt and adapt training material, guidelines, and tools for patient engagement, and to support increased patient engagement in EM research; and 3) nine pragmatic recommendations about engaging patients in the preparatory, execution, and translational phases of EM research.
Patient engagement can improve EM research by helping researchers select meaningful outcomes, increase social acceptability of studies, and design knowledge translation strategies that target patients’ needs.
We conducted a program of research to derive and test the reliability of a clinical prediction rule to identify high-risk older adults using paramedics’ observations.
We developed the Paramedics assessing Elders at Risk of Independence Loss (PERIL) checklist of 43 yes or no questions, including the Identifying Seniors at Risk (ISAR) tool items. We trained 1,185 paramedics from three Ontario services to use this checklist, and assessed inter-observer reliability in a convenience sample. The primary outcome, return to the ED, hospitalization, or death within one month was assessed using provincial databases. We derived a prediction rule using multivariable logistic regression.
We enrolled 1,065 subjects, of which 764 (71.7%) had complete data. Inter-observer reliability was good or excellent for 40/43 questions. We derived a four-item rule: 1) “Problems in the home contributing to adverse outcomes?” (OR 1.43); 2) “Called 911 in the last 30 days?” (OR 1.72); 3) male (OR 1.38) and 4) lacks social support (OR 1.4). The PERIL rule performed better than a proxy measure of clinical judgment (AUC 0.62 vs. 0.56, p=0.02) and adherence was better for PERIL than for ISAR.
The four-item PERIL rule has good inter-observer reliability and adherence, and had advantages compared to a proxy measure of clinical judgment. The ISAR is an acceptable alternative, but adherence may be lower. If future research validates the PERIL rule, it could be used by emergency physicians and paramedic services to target preventative interventions for seniors identified as high-risk.
There are a number of screening tools to predict return to the emergency department (ED) in elderly trauma patients, but none exist to specifically screen for functional decline after a minor injury. The objective of this study was to identify outcome measures for a possible future clinical decision rule to be used in the ED to identify previously independent patients at high risk of functional decline at six months post minor injury.
After a rigorous development process, a survey instrument was administered to a random sample of 178 emergency physicians using the Dillman’s Tailored Design Method.
Of 156 eligible surveys, we received 81 completed surveys (response rate 51.9%). Considering all 14 activities of daily living (ADL) items, 90% of physicians deemed a minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in function to be at least three points on the 28-point Older Americans Resources and Services (OARS) ADL Scale as clinically significant. A tool with a sensitivity of 93% to detect patients at risk of functional decline at six months post injury would meet or exceed the sensitivity deemed to be required by 90% of physicians. The majority of emergency physicians do not assess elderly injured patients for the majority of the tasks.
A drop of three points on the 28-point OARS ADL Scale would be deemed clinically important by the vast majority of emergency physicians. Further, a sensitivity of 93% for a clinical decision tool would satisfy the MCID requirements of the vast majority of emergency physicians. There appears to be a gap between physician knowledge and actual practice. We intend to use these findings in the development of a clinical decision rule to identify high-risk elderly trauma patients.
The level of expertise and degree of training in neonatal resuscitation (NNR) of emergency physicians is not standardized and has not been measured. We sought to determine the self-reported comfort with, knowledge of, and experience with NNR of emergency department (ED) staff in a general ED prior to the opening of a new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and to explore factors associated with NNR comfort.
Using Dillman methodology, we electronically surveyed full-time emergency physicians and nurses. Participants rated knowledge, comfort, and experience on 5-point Likert scales. We used logistic regression to explore factors associated with NNR comfort.
The response rate was 67.3% (n = 107). Only 4.2% of staff reported ever participating in a NNR, and only 38.7% reported any previous NNR training. Between 75 and 85% of participants rated their comfort level in caring for neonates, sense of preparedness, and knowledge of managing a sick neonate as poor or very poor. A recent neonatal clinical encounter was the strongest predictor of perceived comfort in NNR (OR = 22.2, 95% CI 5.0-98.7), as was completion of the Neonatal Resuscitation Provider (NRP) course (OR = 3.1, 95% CI 1.4-7.0).
Perceived comfort with, knowledge of, and preparedness for NNR were poor in an urban, general ED prior to the opening of an NICU. Recent neonatal clinical encounter and participation in the NRP course were the strongest predictors of improved NNR comfort. In future work, we intend to assess the impact of simulation-based training on comfort with NNR among ED staff who primarily treat adults.
Concern about youth violence in Canada is growing. Because victims of violence are more likely to become future violent perpetrators, preventative interventions are often based out of inpatient units; however, the question of how often youth who have been injured due to violence are discharged from emergency departments (EDs), or whether there are opportunities for emergency healthcare workers to deliver violence prevention programs, is not known. The primary objectives of this study were to describe the frequency and patterns of violent injuries among youth, to determine how many injured youth are discharged directly from EDs and to estimate the proportion of injured youth who may benefit from ED-based intervention programs.
We conducted an observational study using a population-based database that records information on all ED visits in Ontario. We analyzed age, sex, cause of injury and disposition for all patients aged 12–19 years who presented to Toronto EDs with violent injuries during a 2-year period (April 2002 to March 2004).
A total of 4100 patients aged 12–19 years visited Toronto EDs with violent injuries during the study period. Assault due to bodily force (in contrast to sharp objects, guns or other) was the most common injury mechanism, accounting for 48.7% of cases (95% confidence interval [CI] 47.1%–50.2%). The majority of patients (89.3%; 95% CI 88.3%–90.2%) were discharged directly from EDs, including 44% of gun-related injuries.
In Toronto, a large proportion (89.3%) of youth injured in violent incidents are discharged directly from EDs. There are opportunities to develop ED-based youth violence prevention initiatives.