National consensus on communication in prehospital trauma care, the DENIM study

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Background: In the Netherlands prehospital trauma care is provided by emergency medical services (EMS) nurses. This care is extended by Physician staffed Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (P-HEMS) for the more severely injured patient. Prehospital communication is a factor of influence on the identification of these patients and the dispatch of P-HEMS. Though prehospital communication it is often perceived to be incomplete and unstructured. To elucidated factors of influence on prehospital triage and the identification of the severely injured patient a Delphi study was performed. Methods: A three round modified Delphi study was designed to explore concepts amongst experts in prehospital trauma care. P-HEMS physicians/nurses, trauma surgeons, EMS nurses and dispatch center operators where asked to state their opinion regarding identification of the poly trauma patient, trauma patient characteristics, prehospital communication and prehospital handover. Results: Seventy-one panellist completed all three rounds. For the first round seven cases and 13 theses were presented. From the answers/argumentation the second round was build, in which 68 theses had to be ranked within four principle themes: factors that influence prehospital communication, critical information for proper handover, factors influencing collaboration and how training/education can influence this. Out of these answers the third survey was build, focussing on determining the exact content of a prehospital trauma handover. The majority of the panellists agreed to a set of parameters resulting in a new model of inter-professional hand over regarding prehospital trauma patients. Discussion: Exact identification of the poly trauma patient in need of care by P-HEMS is difficult though prehospital communication and the prehospital handover may be improved. Conclusion: The respondents report that prehospital communication needs to be unambiguous to improve trauma care. Consensus was reached on a set of ten parameters that should minimally be handed over with regard to a prehospital trauma patient. This to facilitate prehospital communication between the Dispatch centre, EMS, P-HEMS and the receiving hospital.

Original languageEnglish
Article number67
JournalScandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2017

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