Pandemic Influenza Triage in the Clinical Setting
Rottman, Steven J
Shoaf, Kimberley I
Klein Selski, Eva
Prehospital and disaster medicine : the official journal of the National Association of EMS Physicians and the World Association for Emergency and Disaster Medicine in association with the Acute Care Foundation 2010 Mar-Apr; 25(2): 99-104
INTRODUCTION: There has been much federal and local health planning for an influenza pandemic in the United States, but little is known about the ability of the clinical community to deal quickly and effectively with a potentially overwhelming surge of pandemic influenza patients. PROBLEM: The attitudes and expectations of emergency physicians, emergency nurses, hospital nursing supervisors, hospital administrators, and infection control personnel concerning clinical care in a pandemic were assessed. METHODS: Key informant structured interviews of 46 respondents from 34 randomly selected emergency receiving hospitals in Los Angeles County were conducted using an Institutional Review Board-approved protocol. The interview asked about supplies/resources, triage, quality of care, and decision-making. At the conclusion of each interview, the informant was asked to provide the contact information for at least two others within their respective professional group. Interviews were transcribed and coded for key themes using qualitative analytical software. RESULTS: There was little salience that an influx of variably ill patients with influenza would force stratified healthcare decision-making. There also was a general lack of preparation to address the ethics and practices of triaging patients in the clinical setting of a pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: Guidelines must be developed in concert with public health, medical society, and legislative authorities to help clinicians define, adopt, and communicate to the public those practice standards that will be followed in a mass population, infectious disease emergency.
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