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Our study objective was to describe the Canadian emergency medicine (EM) research community landscape prior to the initiation of a nationwide network.
A two-phase electronic survey was sent to 17 Canadian medical schools. The Phase 1 Environmental Scan was administered to department chairs/hospital EM chiefs, to identify EM physicians conducting clinical or educational research. The Phase 2 Survey was sent to the identified EM researchers to assess four themes: 1) geographic distribution, 2) training/career satisfaction, 3) time/financial compensation, and 4) research facilitators/barriers. Descriptive analyses were conducted, and results were stratified by Canadian regions.
A total of 92 EM researchers were identified in Phase 1; 67 (73%) responded to the Phase 2 Survey. Of those, 42 (63%) reported being clinical researchers, and 19 (45%) had a graduate degree. Three provinces encompassed most of the researchers (n = 35). Of the respondents, 61% had a research degree, 66% felt adequately trained for their research career, 73% had financial support, 83% had access to office spaces, 52% had no mentor during their first years of their career, 69% felt satisfied with their research career, and 82% suggested that they will still be conducting research in 5 years.
EM researchers reported being adequately trained, even though only a little over half had a graduate degree. Only two-thirds had financial support, and mentorship was lacking in one-third of the participants. Not all respondents had a form of infrastructure, but most felt optimistic about their careers. The Canadian EM research environment could be improved to ensure better research capacity.
Advances in emergency medicine research can be slow to make their way into clinical care, and implementing a new evidence-based intervention can be challenging in the emergency department. The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) Knowledge Translation Symposium working group set out to produce recommendations for best practice in the implementation of a new science in Canadian emergency departments.
A systematic review of implementation strategies to change health care provider behaviour in the emergency department was conducted simultaneously with a national survey of emergency physician experience. We summarized our findings into a list of draft recommendations that were presented at the national CAEP Conference 2017 and further refined based on feedback through social media strategies.
We produced 10 recommendations for implementing new evidence-based interventions in the emergency department, which cover identifying a practice gap, evaluating the evidence, planning the intervention strategy, monitoring, providing feedback during implementation, and desired qualities of future implementation research.
We present recommendations to guide future emergency department implementation initiatives. There is a need for robust and well-designed implementation research to guide future emergency department implementation initiatives.
We sought to conduct a major objective of the CAEP Academic Section, an environmental scan of the academic emergency medicine programs across the 17 Canadian medical schools.
We developed an 84-question questionnaire, which was distributed to academic heads. The responses were validated by phone by the lead author to ensure that the questions were answered completely and consistently. Details of pediatric emergency medicine units were excluded from the scan.
At eight of 17 universities, emergency medicine has full departmental status and at two it has no official academic status. Canadian academic emergency medicine is practiced at 46 major teaching hospitals and 13 specialized pediatric hospitals. Another 69 Canadian hospital EDs regularly take clinical clerks and emergency medicine residents. There are 31 full professors of emergency medicine in Canada. Teaching programs are strong with clerkships offered at 16/17 universities, CCFP(EM) programs at 17/17, and RCPSC residency programs at 14/17. Fourteen sites have at least one physician with a Master’s degree in education. There are 55 clinical researchers with salary support at 13 universities. Sixteen sites have published peer-reviewed papers in the past five years, ranging from four to 235 per site. Annual budgets range from $200,000 to $5,900,000.
This comprehensive review of academic activities in emergency medicine across Canada identifies areas of strengths as well as opportunities for improvement. CAEP and the Academic Section hope we can ultimately improve ED patient care by sharing best academic practices and becoming better teachers, educators, and researchers.
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.
Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) improves the likelihood of survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), yet it is performed in only 30% of cases. The 2010 guidelines promote chest-compression-only bystander CPR—a change intended to increase willingness to provide CPR.
1) To determine whether the Canadian general public is more willing to perform chest-compression-only CPR compared to traditional CPR; 2) to characterize public knowledge of OHCA; and 3) to identify barriers and facilitators to bystander CPR.
A 32-item survey assessing resuscitation knowledge, and willingness to provide CPR were disseminated in five Canadian regions. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize response distribution. Logistic regression analysis was applied to assess shifts in intention to provide CPR.
A total of 428 completed surveys were analysed. When presented with a scenario of being a bystander in an OHCA, a greater proportion of respondents were willing to provide chest-compression-only CPR compared to traditional CPR for all victims (61.5% v. 39.7%, p<0.001), when the victim was a stranger (55.1% v. 38.8%, p<0.001), or when the victim was an unkempt individual (47.9% v. 28.5%, p<0.001). When asked to describe an OHCA, 41.4% said the heart stopped beating, and 20.8% said it was a heart attack. Identified barriers and facilitators included fear of litigation and lack of skill confidence.
This study identified gaps in knowledge, which may impair the ability of bystanders to act in OHCA. Most respondents expressed greater willingness to provide chest-compression-only CPR, but this was mediated by victim characteristics, skill confidence, and recognition of a cardiac arrest.
We sought to 1) identify best practices for training and mentoring clinician researchers, 2) characterize facilitators and barriers for Canadian emergency medicine researchers, and 3) develop pragmatic recommendations to improve and standardize emergency medicine postgraduate research training programs to build research capacity.
We performed a systematic review of MEDLINE and Embase using search terms relevant to emergency medicine research fellowship/graduate training. We conducted an email survey of all Canadian emergency physician researchers. The Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) research fellowship program was analysed, and other similar international programs were sought. An expert panel reviewed these data and presented recommendations at the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) 2014 Academic Symposium. We refined our recommendations based on feedback received.
Of 1,246 potentially relevant citations, we included 10 articles. We identified five key themes: 1) creating training opportunities; 2) ensuring adequate protected time; 3) salary support; 4) infrastructure; and 5) mentorship. Our survey achieved a 72% (67/93) response rate. From these responses, 42 (63%) consider themselves clinical researchers (i.e., spend a significant proportion of their career conducting research). The single largest constraint to conducting research was funding. Factors felt to be positive contributors to a clinical research career included salary support, research training (including an advanced graduate degree), mentorship, and infrastructure. The SAEM research fellowship was the only emergency medicine research fellowship program identified. This 2-year program requires approval of both the teaching centre and each applying fellow. This program requires training in 15 core competencies, manuscript preparation, and submission of a large grant to a national peer-review funding organization.
We recommend that the CAEP Academic Section create a process to endorse research fellowship/graduate training programs. These programs should include two phases: Phase I: Research fellowship/graduate training would include an advanced research university degree and 15 core learning areas. Phase II: research consolidation involves a further 1-3 years with an emphasis on mentorship and scholarship production. It is anticipated that clinician scientists completing Phase I and Phase II training at a CAEP Academic Section-endorsed site(s) will be independent researchers with a higher likelihood of securing external peer-reviewed funding and be able to have a meaningful external impact in emergency medicine research.
Traditional variables used to explain survival following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) account for only 72% of survival, suggesting that other unknown factors may influence outcomes. Research on other diseases suggests that neighbourhood factors may partly determine health outcomes. Yet, this approach has rarely been used for OHCA. This work outlines a methodology to investigate multiple neighbourhood factors as determinants of OHCA outcomes.
A retrospective, observational cohort study design will be used. All adult non-emergency medical service witnessed OHCAs of cardiac etiology within the city of Toronto between 2006 and 2010 will be included. Event details will be extracted from the Toronto site of the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium Epistry—Cardiac Arrest, an existing population-based dataset of consecutive OHCA patients. Geographic information systems technology will be used to assign patients to census tracts. Neighbourhood variables to be explored include the Ontario Marginalization Index (deprivation, dependency, ethnicity, and instability), crime rate, and density of family physicians. Hierarchical logistic regression analysis will be used to explore the association between neighbourhood characteristics and 1) survival-to-hospital discharge, 2) return-of-spontaneous circulation at hospital arrival, and 3) provision of bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Receiver operating characteristics curves will evaluate each model’s ability to discriminate between those with and without each outcome.
This study will determine the role of neighbourhood characteristics in OHCA and their association with clinical outcomes. The results can be used as the basis to focus on specific neighbourhoods for facilitating educational interventions, CPR awareness programs, and higher utilization of automatic defibrillation devices.
Drowning is a major public health concern, yet little is known about the characteristics of drowning patients. The objectives of this study were to describe the demographic and clinical characteristics of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) attributed to drowning in Ontario and to compare the characteristics of OHCA attributed to drowning to those of presumed cardiac etiology.
A retrospective, observational study was carried out of consecutive OHCA patients of drowning etiology in Ontario between August 2006 and July 2011. Bivariate analysis was used to evaluate differences between drowning and presumed cardiac etiologies.
A total of 31,763 OHCA patients were identified, and 132 (0.42%) were attributed to drowning. Emergency medical services treated 98 patients, whereas the remaining 34 met the criteria for legislative death. Overall, 5.1% of drowning patients survived to hospital discharge. When compared to patients of presumed cardiac etiology, drowning patients were younger and their arrest was more likely to be unwitnessed, present with a nonshockable initial rhythm, occur in a public location, and receive bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). A nonsignificant trend was noted for drowning cases to more frequently have a public access AED applied. There were no significant differences in the gender ratio or paramedic response times. Drowning patients were more likely to be transported to hospital but had a trend to be less likely to arrive with a return of spontaneous circulation. They were also more
likely to be admitted to hospital but had no difference in survival to hospital discharge.
Significant differences exist between OHCA of drowning and presumed cardiac etiologies. Most drownings are unwitnessed, occur in public locations, and present with nonshockable initial rhythms, suggesting that treatment should focus on bystander CPR. Future initiatives should focus on strategies to improve supervision in targeted locations and greater emphasis on bystander-initiated CPR, both of which may reduce drowning mortality.
Bystander resuscitation efforts, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED), save lives in cardiac arrest cases. School training in CPR and AED use may increase the currently low community rates of bystander resuscitation. The study objective was to determine the rates of CPR and AED training in Toronto secondary schools and to identify barriers to training and training techniques.
This prospective study consisted of telephone interviews conducted with key school staff knowledgeable about CPR and AED teaching. An encrypted Web-based tool with prespecified variables and built-in logic was employed to standardize data collection.
Of 268 schools contacted, 93% were available for interview and 83% consented to participate. Students and staff were trained in CPR in 51% and 80% of schools, respectively. Private schools had the lowest training rate (39%). Six percent of schools provided AED training to students and 47% provided AED training to staff. Forty-eight percent of schools had at least one AED installed, but 25% were unaware if their AED was registered with emergency services dispatch. Cost (17%), perceived need (11%), and school population size (10%) were common barriers to student training. Frequently employed training techniques
were interactive (32%), didactic instruction (30%) and printed material (16%).
CPR training rates for staff and students were moderate overall and lowest in private schools, whereas training rates in AED use were poor in all schools. Identified barriers to training include cost and student population size (perceived to be too small to be cost-effective or too large to be implemented). Future studies should assess the application of convenient and cost-effective teaching alternatives not presently in use.
This study forms the first phase in the development of the Canadian National EMS Research Agenda. The purpose was to understand the current state of emergency medical services (EMS) research through the barriers and opportunities perceived by key stakeholders in the Canadian system and to identify the recommendations this group had for moving forward.
This qualitative study was conducted in the spring of 2011 using one-on-one semistructured telephone interviews. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit a cross section of EMS research stakeholders, representing a breadth of geographic regions and roles. Data were collected until thematic saturation was reached. A constant comparative approach was used to develop a basic coding framework and identify emerging themes.
Twenty stakeholders were invited to participate, and saturation was reached after 13 interviews. Thematic saturation was used to ensure that the findings were grounded in the data. Four major themes were identified: 1) the need for additional research education within EMS; 2) the importance of creating an infrastructure to support pan-Canadian research collaboration; 3) addressing the complexities of involving EMS providers in research; and 4) considerations for a national research agenda.
This hypothesis-generating study reveals key areas regarding EMS research in Canada and through the guidance it provides is a first step in the development of a comprehensive national research agenda. Our intention is to collate the identified themes with the results of a larger roundtable discussion and Delphi survey and, in doing so, guide development of a Canadian national EMS research agenda.
Research is essential for the development of evidence-based emergency medical services (EMS) systems of care. When resources are scarce and gaps in evidence are large, a national agenda may inform the growth of EMS research in Canada. This mixed methods consensus study explores current barriers and existing strengths within Canadian EMS research, provides recommendations, and suggests EMS topics for future study.
Purposeful sampling was employed to invite EMS research stakeholders from various roles across the country. Study phases consisted of 1) baseline interviews of a subsample, 2) roundtable discussion, and 3) an online Delphi survey, in which participants scored each statement for importance. Consensus was defined a priori and met if 80% scored a statement as “important” or “very important.”
Fifty-three stakeholders participated, representing researchers (37.7%), EMS administrators (24.6%), clinicians/ providers (20.7%), and educators (17.0%). Participation rates were as follows: interviews, 13 of 13 (100%); roundtable, 47 of 53 (89%); survey round 1, 50 of 53 (94%); survey round 2, 47 of 53 (89%); and survey round 3, 40 of 53 (75%). A total of 141 statements were identified as important: 20 barriers, 54 strengths/opportunities, 31 recommendations, and 36 suggested topics for future research. Like statements were synthesized, resulting in barriers (n 5 10), strengths/opportunities (n 5 24), and recommendations (n 5 19), which were categorized as time, opportunities, and funding; education and mentorship; culture of research and collaboration; structure, process, and outcome of research; EMS and paramedic practice; and the future of the EMS Research Agenda.
Consensus-based key messages from this agenda should be considered when designing, funding, and publishing EMS research and will advance EMS research locally, regionally, and nationally.
Emergency medical services (EMS) personnel care for patients in challenging and dynamic environments that may contribute to an increased risk for adverse events. However, little is known about the risks to patient safety in the EMS setting. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted a systematic review of the literature, including nonrandomized, noncontrolled studies, conducted qualitative interviews of key informants, and, with the assistance of a pan-Canadian advisory board, hosted a 1-day summit of 52 experts in the field of EMS patient safety. The intent of the summit was to review available research, discuss the issues affecting prehospital patient safety, and discuss interventions that might improve the safety of the EMS industry. The primary objective was to define the strategic goals for improving patient safety in EMS. Participants represented all geographic regions of Canada and included administrators, educators, physicians, researchers, and patient safety experts. Data were collected through electronic voting and qualitative analysis of the discussions. The group reached consensus on nine recommendations to increase awareness, reduce adverse events, and suggest research and educational directions in EMS patient safety: increasing awareness of patient safety principles, improving adverse event reporting through creating nonpunitive reporting systems, supporting paramedic clinical decision making through improved research and education, policy changes, using flexible algorithms, adopting patient safety strategies from other disciplines, increasing funding for research in patient safety, salary support for paramedic researchers, and access to graduate training in prehospital research.
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) appears to be superior to in-hospital fibrinolysis for most patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). However, few hospitals have PCI capability. The optimal prehospital strategy for facilitating rapid coronary reperfusion in STEMI patients is unclear. We sought to determine whether direct transport of adult STEMI patients by emergency medical services to primary PCI centres improves 30-day all-cause mortality when compared with a strategy of transportation to the closest hospital.
We systematically searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane “CENTRAL” database (1980-July 2007) and several other electronic databases. Two authors independently assessed citations for relevance. Two authors independently abstracted data from included studies. We included studies that, 1) transported patients directly to a PCI-capable centre for primary PCI, 2) had a control group that was transported to the closest hospital and 3) reported outcomes of treatment time intervals, all-cause mortality, reinfarction rate, stroke rate or the frequency of cardiogenic shock. We used a random effects model to provide pooled estimates of relative risk (RR) when data allowed.
We identified 2264 citations with the search. Five studies, including 980 STEMI patients, met inclusion criteria, and were clinically heterogeneous and of variable quality. Most studies were European (3/5) and involved physician out-of-hospital care providers. There was a trend toward increased survival with direct transport to primary PCI but this was not statistically significant (RR 0.51, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.24–1.10). One study reported nonsignificant reductions in reinfarction (RR 0.43, 95% CI 0.11–1.60) and stroke (RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.01–8.06) with direct transport for primary PCI.
There is insufficient evidence to support the effectiveness of direct transport of patients with STEMI for primary PCI when compared with transportation to the closest hospital.
We sought to assess the knowledge of, use of and barriers to the use of personal protective equipment for airway management among emergency medical technicians (EMTs) during and since the 2003 Canadian outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Using a cross-sectional survey, EMTs in Toronto, Ont., were surveyed 1 year after the SARS outbreak during mandatory training on the use of personal protective equipment in airway management during the outbreak and just before taking the survey. Practices that were addressed reflected government directives on the use of this equipment. Main outcome measures included the frequency of personal protective equipment use and, as applicable, why particular items were not always used.
The response rate was 67.3% (n = 230). During the SARS outbreak, an N95-type particulate respirator was reported to be always used by 91.5% of respondents. Conversely, 72.9% of the respondents reported that they never used the open face hood. Equipment availability and vision impairment were often cited as impediments to personal protective equipment use. In nonoutbreak conditions, only the antimicrobial airway filter was most often reported to be always used (52.0%), while other items were used at an intermediate frequency. The most common reason for not always donning equipment was that paramedics deemed it unnecessary for the situation.
Personal protective equipment is not consistently employed as per medical directives. Reasons given for nonuse included nonavailability, judgment of nonnecessity or technical difficulties. There are important public health implications of noncompliance.
The laryngeal mask airway (LMA™ airway) provides adequate ventilation and offers a suitable alternative for airway management in patients with cardiac arrest if primary care paramedics do not have intubation skills or are unable to intubate. Training in the use of the LMA usually occurs in the operating room.
To describe the use of the LMA by paramedics in prehospital adult non-traumatic cardiac arrest patients after classroom mannequin training. The study took place in a suburban rural emergency medical service.
This is a 2-phase observational study of the effect of paramedic training for LMA insertion using a mannequin and the success rate in the prehospital setting. All paramedics successfully completed classroom mannequin training. All subsequent prehospital adult non-traumatic cardiac arrest patients from mid-February 1999 to Mar. 31, 2000, were eligible. Subjective assessment of chest expansion, ease of ventilation and auscultation defined adequacy of ventilation. Data collected included the number of insertion attempts, reasons for failure, ease of insertion, adverse events and reasons for not attempting intubation. Statistical analysis comprised descriptive frequencies, chi-squared tests for comparison of categorical variables and analysis of variance for continuous variables.
208 paramedics (100%) successfully completed training. The mean number of attempts was 1, and only 4 (2.1%) paramedics required a second attempt with a mannequin. The paramedics’ perception of ease of use comparing the LMA with a bag valve mask (BVM) was evenly distributed across the 3 descriptors: 70 (39%) scored the LMA as easier to use, 57 (31%) as more difficult, and 54 (30%) stated there would be no difference. Of the 291 arrests during the study period, insertion of the LMA was attempted in 283 (97.3%) and was successful in 199 (70%) patients. The LMA became dislodged in 5 (2.5%) cases and was removed in 12 (6%) to clear vomit from the airway. The overall success rate was 182 (64%). The incidence of regurgitation prior to attempted insertion of the LMA was 28% (79 patients). Success rates did not vary significantly with the incidence of vomiting prior to insertion (p = 0.11). The majority of the paramedics evaluated LMA insertion as Very easy 49/220 (22.3%) or Easy 87/220 (39.6%). Paramedic evaluation of ease of use varied with success (p = 0.001).
This study reports a 100% training success rate with a mannequin and a 64% success with LMA insertion and ventilation in the field by paramedics among adult out-of-hospital non-traumatic cardiac arrest patients.
Our primary objectives were to estimate how frequently emergency medical technicians with defibrillation skills (EMT-Ds) are forced to deal with prehospital do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders, to assess their comfort in doing so, and to describe the prehospital care provided to patients with DNR orders in a system without a prehospital DNR policy (i.e., where resuscitation is mandatory).
Using Dillman methodology, the authors developed a 13-item survey and mailed it to 382 of 764 EMT-Ds in the metropolitan Toronto area. Responses were evaluated using 5-point Likert scales, limited-option and open-ended questions. Narrative responses were categorized. Two authors independently categorized narrative responses from 20 surveys, and kappa values for agreement beyond chance were determined.
Among 382 EMT-Ds surveyed, 236 (62%) responded, of whom 221 (94%) answered the questionnaire. Overall, 126 of 219 (58%) indicated that they were called to resuscitate patients with DNR orders “sometimes,” “frequently,” or “all the time.” In such situations, 22 of 207 (11%) stated they would honour the DNR order and 55 of 207 (27%) would honour the order but appear to provide basic resuscitation, in order to adhere to mandatory resuscitation regulations. Willingness to honour a DNR order did not vary by years of emergency medical service. EMT-Ds cited concern for the family and the patient, fear of repercussions and conflict with personal ethics as key factors contributing to this ethical dilemma. If legally allowed to honour DNR orders, 212 of 221 (96%) respondents would be comfortable with a written order and 137 of 220 (62%) with a verbal order.
Prehospital DNR orders are common, and a significant number of EMT-Ds disregard current regulations by honouring them. EMT-Ds would be more comfortable with written than verbal DNR orders. An ethical prehospital DNR policy should be developed and applied.
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