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1.
BMJ Qual Saf ; 30(12): 986-995, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526510

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The impact of a pandemic on unplanned hospital attendance has not been extensively examined. The aim of this study is to report the nationwide consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on unplanned hospital attendances in Denmark for 7 weeks after a 'shelter at home' order was issued. METHODS: We merged data from national registries (Civil Registration System and Patient Registry) to conduct a study of unplanned (excluding outpatient visits and elective surgery) hospital-based healthcare and mortality of all Danes. Using data for 7 weeks after the 'shelter at home' order, the incidence rate of unplanned hospital attendances per week in 2020 was compared with corresponding weeks in 2017-2019. The main outcome was hospital attendances per week as incidence rate ratios. Secondary outcomes were general population mortality and risk of death in-hospital, reported as weekly mortality rate ratios (MRRs). RESULTS: From 2 438 286 attendances in the study period, overall unplanned attendances decreased by up to 21%; attendances excluding COVID-19 were reduced by 31%; non-psychiatric by 31% and psychiatric by 30%. Out of the five most common diagnoses expected to remain stable, only schizophrenia and myocardial infarction remained stable, while chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation, hip fracture and urinary tract infection fell significantly. The nationwide general population MRR rose in six of the recorded weeks, while MRR excluding patients who were COVID-19 positive only increased in two. CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic and a governmental national 'shelter at home' order was associated with a marked reduction in unplanned hospital attendances with an increase in MRR for the general population in two of 7 weeks, despite exclusion of patients with COVID-19. The findings should be taken into consideration when planning for public information campaigns.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Emergency Service, Hospital , Hospitals , Humans , Incidence , SARS-CoV-2
2.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(7)2021 03 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1378227

ABSTRACT

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 placed human health at the centre of disaster risk reduction, calling for the global community to enhance local and national health emergency and disaster risk management (Health EDRM). The Health EDRM Framework, published in 2019, describes the functions required for comprehensive disaster risk management across prevention, preparedness, readiness, response, and recovery to improve the resilience and health security of communities, countries, and health systems. Evidence-based Health EDRM workforce development is vital. However, there are still significant gaps in the evidence identifying common competencies for training and education programmes, and the clarification of strategies for workforce retention, motivation, deployment, and coordination. Initiated in June 2020, this project includes literature reviews, case studies, and an expert consensus (modified Delphi) study. Literature reviews in English, Japanese, and Chinese aim to identify research gaps and explore core competencies for Health EDRM workforce training. Thirteen Health EDRM related case studies from six WHO regions will illustrate best practices (and pitfalls) and inform the consensus study. Consensus will be sought from global experts in emergency and disaster medicine, nursing, public health and related disciplines. Recommendations for developing effective health workforce strategies for low- and middle-income countries and high-income countries will then be disseminated.


Subject(s)
Disaster Medicine , Disaster Planning , Disasters , Emergencies , Health Workforce , Humans
3.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(15)2021 07 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1346490

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: While the pharmacy workforce is the third largest professional healthcare group worldwide, the pharmacy workforce landscape remains unclear in post-conflict areas in sub-Saharan Africa. METHOD: Key informants were selected for semi-structured interviews due to their role in providing pharmacy services in the selected country: the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, and South Sudan. Transcripts from the interviews were anonymized, coded, and analyzed. RESULTS: Nine participants were recruited (CAR: 2; DRC: 2; Ethiopia: 2; South Sudan: 3), and all except two were pharmacists. Conflict-specific challenges in pharmacy service delivery were identified as the following: unpredictable health needs and/or mismatched pharmaceutical supply, transport difficulties due to insecure roads, and shortage of pharmacy workforce due to brain drain or interrupted schooling. Barriers to health workforce retention and growth were identified to be brain drain as a result of suboptimal living and working conditions or remuneration, the perception of an unsafe work environment, and a career pathway or commitment duration that does not fit the diaspora or expatriate staff. CONCLUSION: To tackle the barriers of pharmacy health workforce retention and growth, policy solutions will be required and efforts that can bring about long-term improvement should be prioritized. This is essential to achieve universal health coverage and the targets of the sustainable development goals for conflict affected areas, as well as to "leave no one behind".


Subject(s)
Pharmaceutical Services , Pharmacies , Pharmacy , Ethiopia , Humans , Workforce
4.
BMJ Qual Saf ; 30(12): 986-995, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1218236

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The impact of a pandemic on unplanned hospital attendance has not been extensively examined. The aim of this study is to report the nationwide consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on unplanned hospital attendances in Denmark for 7 weeks after a 'shelter at home' order was issued. METHODS: We merged data from national registries (Civil Registration System and Patient Registry) to conduct a study of unplanned (excluding outpatient visits and elective surgery) hospital-based healthcare and mortality of all Danes. Using data for 7 weeks after the 'shelter at home' order, the incidence rate of unplanned hospital attendances per week in 2020 was compared with corresponding weeks in 2017-2019. The main outcome was hospital attendances per week as incidence rate ratios. Secondary outcomes were general population mortality and risk of death in-hospital, reported as weekly mortality rate ratios (MRRs). RESULTS: From 2 438 286 attendances in the study period, overall unplanned attendances decreased by up to 21%; attendances excluding COVID-19 were reduced by 31%; non-psychiatric by 31% and psychiatric by 30%. Out of the five most common diagnoses expected to remain stable, only schizophrenia and myocardial infarction remained stable, while chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation, hip fracture and urinary tract infection fell significantly. The nationwide general population MRR rose in six of the recorded weeks, while MRR excluding patients who were COVID-19 positive only increased in two. CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic and a governmental national 'shelter at home' order was associated with a marked reduction in unplanned hospital attendances with an increase in MRR for the general population in two of 7 weeks, despite exclusion of patients with COVID-19. The findings should be taken into consideration when planning for public information campaigns.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Emergency Service, Hospital , Hospitals , Humans , Incidence , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Am J Emerg Med ; 46: 10-15, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1101049

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been enormously disruptive and harmful to people around the world, but its impact on other illnesses and injuries has been more variable. To evaluate the ramification of infectious disease outbreaks on major traumatic injuries, we compared changes in the incidence of major trauma cases during the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) period with COVID-19 in 2020. METHODS: Data were analyzed from the trauma registry of a major, tertiary-care teaching hospital in Hong Kong. Patients presenting with major traumatic injuries during the first six months of 2001-03 and 2018-20 were retrieved for analysis. Patient characteristics, injury mechanism, admitting service, and emergency department (ED)/hospital lengths of stay (LOS) were recorded. Raw and adjusted survival rates (using the modified Trauma Injury Severity Score (TRISS)) were recorded. RESULTS: The number of trauma cases fell dramatically during 2003 and 2020 compared with previous years. In both 2003 and 2020, the number of trauma registry patients fell by 49% in April (compared to the preceding reference years of 2001/02 and 2018/19, respectively). Patient characteristics, treatments, and outcomes were also different during the outbreak years. Comparing 2003 to 2020 relative to their respective reference baselines, the percentages of injuries that happened at home, patients without co-morbidities, and patients' mean age all increased in 2003 but decreased in 2020. Work-place injuries drastically dropped in 2003, but not in 2020. Average ED LOS dropped in 2003 by 36.4 min (95% CI 12.5, 60.3) but declined by only 14.5 min (95% CI -2.9, 32.1) in 2020. Both observed and expected 30-day mortality declined in 2020 vs. 2003 (observed 4.5% vs. 11.7%, p = 0.001, OR 0.352, 95% CI 0.187, 0.661) (expected 4.5% vs 11.6%, p = 0.002, OR 0.358, 95% CI 0.188, 0.684). CONCLUSION: Major trauma cases dropped by half during both the peak of the 2003 SARS and 2020 COVID-19 pandemics in Hong Kong, suggesting a trend for future pandemic planning. If similar findings are seen at other trauma centers, proactive personnel and resource allocations away from trauma towards medical emergency systems may be more appropriate for future pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Hospitalization/trends , Pandemics , Registries , Wounds and Injuries/epidemiology , Adult , Comorbidity , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Hong Kong/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Trauma Centers , Young Adult
7.
Int J Health Policy Manag ; 11(4): 508-513, 2022 Apr 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-892567

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: As health systems across the world respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), there is rising concern that patients without COVID-19 are not receiving timely emergency care, resulting in avoidable deaths. This study examined patterns of self-reported health service utilization, their socio-demographic determinants and association with avoidable deaths during the COVID-19 outbreak. METHODS: A cross-sectional telephone survey was conducted between March 22 and April 1, 2020, during the peak rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong. Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong residents over 18-years-old were recruited using a computerised random digital dialling (RDD) system. The RDD method used stratified random sampling to ensure a representative sample of the target population by age, gender, and residential district. A structured self-reported questionnaire was used. RESULTS: Out of 1738 placed calls, 765 subjects responded to the questionnaire (44.0% response rate). The factors associated with avoiding medical consultation included being female (37.2% vs. 22.5%, P<.001), married (32.8% vs. 27%, P=.044), completing tertiary education (35.3% vs. 27.7% (secondary) vs. 14.8% (primary), P=.005), and those who reported a "large/very large" impact of COVID-19 on their mental health (36.1% vs 30.5% (neutral) vs. 19.7% (very small/small), P=.047) using logistic regression analysis. CONCLUSION: Married females with both higher educational attainment and concern about COVID-19 were associated with avoiding healthcare services. Timely public communication to encourage and promote early health seeking treatment even during extreme events such as pandemics are needed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Health Services , Hong Kong/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Pandemics
9.
Emerg Med Australas ; 32(6): 1077-1079, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-805500

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has produced significant changes in emergency medicine patient volumes, clinical practice, and has accelerated a number of systems-level developments. Many of these changes produced efficiencies in emergency care systems and contributed to a reduction in crowding and access block. In this paper, we explore these changes, analyse their risks and benefits and examine their sustainability for the future to the extent that they may combat crowding. We also examine the necessity of a system-wide approach in addressing ED crowding and access block.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Crowding , Emergency Service, Hospital/organization & administration , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Cross Infection/prevention & control , Emergency Service, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Pandemics , Risk Factors , Telemedicine
11.
J Am Coll Emerg Physicians Open ; 2020 Jun 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-609415

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Little is known about the value of routine clinical assessment in identifying patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the emergency department (ED). We aimed to compare the exposure history, signs and symptoms, laboratory, and radiographic features of ED patients who tested positive and negative for COVID-19. METHODS: This was a case-control study in seven EDs in Hong Kong from 20 January to 29 February 2020. Thirty-seven patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 were age- and gender-matched to 111 controls. We compared the groups with univariate analysis and calculated the odds ratio (OR) of having COVID-19 for each characteristic that was significantly different between the groups with adjustment for age and presumed location of acquiring the infection. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in patient characteristics and reported symptoms between the groups. A positive contact history within 14 days (adjusted OR 37.61, 95% CI 10.86-130.19), bilateral chest radiograph shadow (adjusted OR 13.19, 95% CI 4.66-37.35), having prior medical consultation (adjusted OR 7.43, 95% 2.89 -19.09), a lower white blood cell count (adjusted OR 1.30, 95% CI 1.11-1.51), and a lower platelet count (adjusted OR 1.07, 95% CI 1.01-1.12) were associated with a higher odds of COVID-19 separately. A higher neutrophil count was associated with a lower odds of COVID-19 (adjusted OR 0.77, 95% CI 0.65-0.91). CONCLUSION: This study highlights a number of clinical features that may be useful in identifying high-risk patients for early testing and isolation while waiting for the test result. Further studies are warranted to verify the findings.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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