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2.
Emerg Med J ; 39(2): 100-105, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546543

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Healthcare workers (HCWs) are frontline responders to emergency infectious disease outbreaks such as COVID-19. To avoid the rapid spread of disease, adherence to protective measures is paramount. We investigated rates of correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE), hand hygiene and physical distancing in UK HCWs who had been to their workplace at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and factors associated with adherence. METHODS: We used an online cross-sectional survey of 1035 UK healthcare professionals (data collected 12-16 June 2020). We excluded those who had not been to their workplace in the previous 6 weeks, leaving us with a sample size of 831. Respondents were asked about their use of PPE, hand hygiene and physical distancing in the workplace. Frequency of uptake was reported descriptively; adjusted logistic regressions were used to separately investigate factors associated with adherence to use of PPE, maintaining good hand hygiene and physical distancing from colleagues. RESULTS: Adherence to personal protective measures was suboptimal (PPE use: 80.0%, 95% CI 77.3 to 82.8; hand hygiene: 67.8%, 95% CI 64.6 to 71.0; coming into close contact with colleagues: 74.7%, 95% CI 71.7 to 77.7). Adherence to PPE use was associated with having received training about health and safety in the workplace for COVID-19, greater perceived social pressure to adopt the behaviour and availability of PPE. Non-adherence was associated with fatalism about COVID-19 and greater perceived difficulty of adopting protective measures. Workplace design using markings to facilitate distancing was associated with adherence to physical distancing. CONCLUSIONS: Uptake of personal protective behaviours among UK HCWs at the start of the pandemic was variable. Factors associated with adherence provide insight into ways to support HCWs to adopt personal protective behaviours, such as ensuring that adequate PPE is available and designing workplaces to facilitate physical distancing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Cross-Sectional Studies , Health Personnel , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom
3.
Emerg Med J ; 38(12): 938-939, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1533061
4.
Emerg Med J ; 2021 Oct 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463005

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: This systematic review aimed to estimate the willingness of students to volunteer during a disaster, and how well-prepared medical students are for volunteering by assessing their knowledge and medical school curriculum of disaster and pandemic medicine. RESULTS: A total of 37 studies met inclusion criteria including 11 168 medical students and 91 medical schools. 24 studies evaluated knowledge (64.9%), 16 evaluated volunteering (43.2%) and 5 evaluated medical school curricula (13.5%). Weighted mean willingness to volunteer during a disaster was 68.4% (SD=21.7%, range=26.7%-87.8%, n=2911), and there was a significant difference between those planning to volunteer and those who actually volunteered (p<0.0001). We identified a number of modifiable barriers which may contribute to this heterogeneity. Overall, knowledge of disasters was poor with a weighted mean of 48.9% (SD=15.1%, range=37.1%-87.0%, n=2985). 36.8% of 76 medical schools curricula included teaching on disasters. However, students only received minimal teaching (2-6 hours). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that there is a large number of students who are willing to volunteer during pandemics. However, they are unlikely to be prepared for these roles as overall knowledge is poor, and this is likely due to minimal teaching on disasters at medical school. During the current COVID-19 pandemic and in future disasters, medical students may be required to volunteer as auxiliary staff. There is a need to develop infrastructure to facilitate this process as well as providing education and training to ensure students are adequately prepared to perform these roles safely.

5.
Emerg Med J ; 38(5): 373-378, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1153688

ABSTRACT

Anticipating the need for a COVID-19 treatment centre in Israel, a designated facility was established at Sheba Medical Center-a quaternary referral centre. The goals were diagnosis and treatment of patients with COVID-19 while protecting patients and staff from infection and ensuring operational continuity and treatment of patients with non-COVID. Options considered included adaptation of existing wards, building a tented facility and converting a non-medical structure. The option chosen was a non-medical structure converted to a hospitalisation facility suited for COVID-19 with appropriate logistic and organisational adaptations. Operational principles included patient isolation, unidirectional workflow from clean to contaminated zones and minimising direct contact between patients and caregivers using personal protection equipment (PPE) and a multimodal telemedicine system. The ED was modified to enable triage and treatment of patients with COVID-19 while maintaining a COVID-19-free environment in the main campus. This system enabled treatment of patients with COVID-19 while maintaining staff safety and conserving the operational continuity and the ability to continue delivery of treatment to patients with non-COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Emergency Service, Hospital/organization & administration , Hospitals, Special/organization & administration , Infection Control/organization & administration , Emergency Service, Hospital/standards , Humans , Infection Control/standards , Israel/epidemiology , Personal Protective Equipment/standards , Personal Protective Equipment/supply & distribution , SARS-CoV-2 , Telemedicine , Triage/organization & administration , Workflow
7.
Emerg Med J ; 37(12): 768-772, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-807792

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched EDs globally, with many regions in England challenged by the number of COVID-19 presentations. In order to rapidly share learning to inform future practice, we undertook a thematic review of ED operational experience within England during the pandemic thus far. METHODS: A rapid phenomenological approach using semistructured telephone interviews with ED clinical leads from across England was undertaken between 16 and 22 April 2020. Participants were recruited through purposeful sampling with sample size determined by data saturation. Departments from a wide range of geographic distribution and COVID-19 experience were included. Themes were identified and included if they met one of three criteria: demonstrating a consistency of experience between EDs, demonstrating a conflict of approach between emergency departments or encapsulating a unique solution to a common barrier. RESULTS: Seven clinical leads from type 1 EDs were interviewed. Thematic redundancy was achieved by the sixth interview, and one further interview was performed to confirm. Themes emerged in five categories: departmental reconfiguration, clinical pathways, governance and communication, workforce and personal protective equipment. CONCLUSION: This paper summarises learning and innovation from a cross-section of EDs during the first UK wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Common themes centred around the importance of flexibility when reacting to an ever-changing clinical challenge, clear leadership and robust methods of communication. Additionally, experience in managing winter pressures helped inform operational decisions, and ED staff demonstrated incredible resilience in demanding working conditions. Subsequent surges of COVID-19 infections may occur within a more challenging context with no guarantee that there will be an associated reduction in A&E attendance or cessation of elective activity. Future operational planning must therefore take this into consideration.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Disaster Planning , Emergency Medicine/organization & administration , Emergency Service, Hospital/organization & administration , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Emergencies/epidemiology , England/epidemiology , Humans , Organizational Innovation , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Qualitative Research , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Emerg Med J ; 37(11): 707-713, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-788175

ABSTRACT

Rigorous assessment of occupational COVID-19 risk and personal protective equipment (PPE) use is not well-described. We evaluated 9-1-1 emergency medical services (EMS) encounters for patients with COVID-19 to assess occupational exposure, programmatic strategies to reduce exposure and PPE use. We conducted a retrospective cohort investigation of laboratory-confirmed patients with COVID-19 in King County, Washington, USA, who received 9-1-1 EMS responses from 14 February 2020 to 26 March 2020. We reviewed dispatch, EMS and public health surveillance records to evaluate the temporal relationship between exposure and programmatic changes to EMS operations designed to identify high-risk patients, protect the workforce and conserve PPE. There were 274 EMS encounters for 220 unique COVID-19 patients involving 700 unique EMS providers with 988 EMS person-encounters. Use of 'full' PPE including mask (surgical or N95), eye protection, gown and gloves (MEGG) was 67%. There were 151 person-exposures among 129 individuals, who required 981 quarantine days. Of the 700 EMS providers, 3 (0.4%) tested positive within 14 days of encounter, though these positive tests were not attributed to occupational exposure from inadequate PPE. Programmatic changes were associated with a temporal reduction in exposures. When stratified at the study encounters midpoint, 94% (142/151) of exposures occurred during the first 137 EMS encounters compared with 6% (9/151) during the second 137 EMS encounters (p<0.01). By the investigation's final week, EMS deployed MEGG PPE in 34% (3579/10 468) of all EMS person-encounters. Less than 0.5% of EMS providers experienced COVID-19 illness within 14 days of occupational encounter. Programmatic strategies were associated with a reduction in exposures, while achieving a measured use of PPE.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Emergency Medical Services/organization & administration , Occupational Exposure/prevention & control , Occupational Exposure/statistics & numerical data , Personal Protective Equipment , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Female , Humans , Male , Mass Screening , Pandemics , Quarantine , Retrospective Studies , Risk Assessment , SARS-CoV-2 , Washington/epidemiology
9.
Emerg Med J ; 37(11): 700-704, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-760265

ABSTRACT

The pandemic of COVID-19 has been particularly severe in the New York City area, which has had one of the highest concentrations of cases in the USA. In March 2020, the EDs of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, a 10-hospital health system in the region, began to experience a rapid surge in patients with COVID-19 symptoms. Emergency physicians were faced with a disease that they knew little about that quickly overwhelmed resources. A significant amount of attention has been placed on the problem of limited supply of ventilators and intensive care beds for critically ill patients in the setting of the ongoing global pandemic. Relatively less has been given to the issue that precedes it: the demand on resources posed by patients who are not yet critically ill but are unwell enough to seek care in the ED. We describe here how at one institution, a cross-campus ED physician working group produced a care pathway to guide clinicians and ensure the fair and effective allocation of resources in the setting of the developing public health crisis. This 'crisis clinical pathway' focused on using clinical evaluation for medical decision making and maximising benefit to patients throughout the system.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Critical Pathways , Emergency Service, Hospital/organization & administration , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Resource Allocation , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Decision Making , Humans , New York City/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Emerg Med J ; 37(10): 642-643, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-697092

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm and overwhelmed healthcare institutions even in developed countries. In response, clinical staff and resources have been redeployed to the areas of greatest need, that is, intensive care units and emergency rooms (ER), to reinforce front-line manpower. We introduce the concept of close air support (CAS) to augment ER operations in an efficient, safe and scalable manner. Teams of five comprising two on-site junior ER physicians would be paired with two CAS doctors, who would be off-site but be in constant communication via teleconferencing to render real-time administrative support. They would be supervised by an ER attending. This reduces direct viral exposure to doctors, conserves precious personal protective equipment and allows ER physicians to focus on patient care. Medical students can also be involved in a safe and supervised manner. After 1 month, the average time to patient disposition was halved. General feedback was also positive. CAS improves efficiency and is safe, scalable and sustainable. It has also empowered a previously untapped group of junior clinicians to support front-line medical operations, while simultaneously protecting them from viral exposure. Institutions can consider adopting our novel approach, with modifications made according to their local context.


Subject(s)
Air Ambulances/organization & administration , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Emergency Medical Services/organization & administration , Emergency Service, Hospital/organization & administration , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Workforce/organization & administration , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Emergency Medicine/organization & administration , Female , Humans , Male , Organizational Innovation , Outcome Assessment, Health Care , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Pilot Projects , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Program Development , Program Evaluation , Quality Improvement
11.
Emerg Med J ; 37(10): 637-638, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-697083

ABSTRACT

Telehealth or using technology for a remote medical encounter has become an efficient solution for safe patient care during the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or COVID-19 pandemic. This medium allows patient immediate healthcare access without the need for an in-person visit. We designed a time-sensitive, practical, effective and innovative scale-up of telehealth services as a response to the demand for COVID-19 evaluation and testing. As more patients made appointments through the institution's telehealth programme, we increased the number of clinicians available. JeffConnect, the acute care telehealth programme, was expanded to increase staffing from a standing staff of 37-187 doctors within 72 hours. Telehealth care clinicians primarily trained in emergency medicine, internal medicine and family medicine followed a patient decision pathway to risk stratify patients into three groups: home quarantine no testing, home quarantine with outpatient COVID-19 testing and referral for in-person evaluation in the ED, for symptomatic and potentially unstable patients.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Cross Infection/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/diagnosis , Telemedicine/organization & administration , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Delaware , Female , Hospitals, University , Humans , Infection Control/methods , Male , New Jersey , Pennsylvania , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Program Development , Program Evaluation , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/epidemiology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/therapy
12.
Emerg Med J ; 37(9): 567-570, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-647095

ABSTRACT

For many of us in emergency medicine, rising to the challenge of the COVID-19 crisis will be the single most exciting and challenging episode of our careers. Lessons have been learnt on how to make quick and effective changes without being hindered by the normal restraints of bureaucracy. Changes that would normally have taken months to years to implement have been successfully introduced over a period of several weeks. Although we have managed these changes largely by command and control, compassionate leadership has identified leaders within our team and paved the way for the future. This article covers the preparation and changes made in response to COVID-19 in a London teaching hospital.


Subject(s)
Civil Defense , Coronavirus Infections , Emergency Service, Hospital , Organizational Innovation , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Strategic Planning , Surge Capacity , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Change Management , Civil Defense/methods , Civil Defense/organization & administration , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Efficiency, Organizational , Emergency Service, Hospital/organization & administration , Emergency Service, Hospital/trends , Humans , Leadership , London , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Emerg Med J ; 37(7): 402-406, 2020 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-429888

ABSTRACT

By 11 February 2020 when the WHO named the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease it causes (COVID-19), it was evident that the virus was spreading rapidly outside of China. Although San Francisco did not confirm its first locally transmitted cases until the first week of March, our ED and health system began preparing for a potential COVID-19 surge in late February 2020.In this manuscript, we detail how the above responses were instrumental in the rapid deployment of two military-grade negative-pressure medical tents, named accelerated care units (ACU). We describe engagement of our workforce, logistics of creating new care areas, ensuring safety through personal protective equipment access and conservation, and the adaptive leadership challenges that this process posed.We know of no other comprehensive examples of how EDs have prepared for COVID-19 in the peer-reviewed literature. Many other EDs both in and outside of California have requested access to the details of how we operationalised our ACUs to facilitate their own planning. This demonstrates the urgent need to disseminate this information to our colleagues. Below we describe the process of developing and launching our ACUs as a potential model for other EDs around the country.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Emergency Service, Hospital/organization & administration , Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Aerosols , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Communication , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Disaster Planning/organization & administration , Humans , Leadership , Mass Screening/organization & administration , Pandemics/prevention & control , Patient Care Team/organization & administration , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Time Factors , Triage/organization & administration , Work Engagement , Workflow
14.
Emerg Med J ; 37(7): 407-410, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-422200

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 outbreak has posed unique challenges to the emergency department rostering. Additional infection control, the possibility of quarantine of staff and minimising contact among staff have significant impact on the work of doctors in the emergency department. Infection of a single healthcare worker may require quarantine of close contacts at work. This may thus affect a potentially large number of staff. As such, we developed an Outbreak Response Roster. This Outbreak Response Roster had fixed teams of doctors working in rotation, each team that staff the emergency department in turn. Members within teams remained constant and were near equally balanced in terms of manpower and seniority of doctors. Each team worked fixed 12 hours shifts with as no overlapping of staff or staggering of shifts. Handovers between shifts were kept as brief as possible. All these were measures to limit interactions among healthcare workers. With the implementation of the roster, measures were also taken to bolster the psychological wellness of healthcare workers. With face-to-face contact limited, we also had to maintain clear, open channels for communication through technology and continue educating residents through innovative means.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Emergency Service, Hospital/organization & administration , Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Betacoronavirus , Burnout, Professional/prevention & control , COVID-19 , Communication , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Disease Outbreaks , Health Personnel/organization & administration , Health Personnel/psychology , Humans , Inservice Training/organization & administration , Pandemics/prevention & control , Patient Care Team/organization & administration , Patient Handoff/organization & administration , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Singapore , Time Factors , Workflow
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