Training of hospital staff to respond to a mass casualty incident

Hsu EB, Jenckes MW, Catlett CL, Robinson KA, Feuerstein CJ, Cosgrove SE, Green G, Guedelhoefer OG, Bass EB
Record ID 32004000803
English
Authors' objectives:

This evidence report identifies and synthesizes evidence on the effectiveness of hospital disaster drills, computer simulations, and tabletop or other exercises in training hospital staff to respond to an mass casualty incident (MCI), and it reviews the methods or tools that have been used to evaluate these types of training activities.

Authors' results and conclusions: Sixteen studies addressed hospital disaster drills as a training method for hospital staff to respond to an MCI and indicated lessons learned. The studies had significant limitations in design and evaluation methods. One study addressed computer simulation for training hospital staff to respond to an MCI and identified bottlenecks in patient care, security problems, and other issues. Four studies, covering issues from burn care to a regional coordinated response to a biological attack, addressed the effectiveness of tabletop or other exercises in training hospital staff to respond to an MCI. The reviewed studies used a variety of methods to evaluate the effectiveness of hospital drills, computer simulations, and tabletop and other exercises in training hospital staff to respond to an MCI, and they targeted different groups of hospital staff. Internal and external communications were the key to disaster response (e.g., a well-defined incident command center reduced confusion, conference calls were inefficient, and accurate phone numbers were vital).
Authors' recomendations: We concluded that enough studies were available to suggest that hospital disaster drills were effective in training hospital staff to respond to an MCI; however, weaknesses in study design limit the strength of these conclusions. Although computer simulations and tabletop and other exercises may have a role in identifying problems in disaster preparedness, the evidence is insufficient to judge their effectiveness in training.
Authors' methods: Systematic review
Details
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2004
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: United States
MeSH Terms
  • Disaster Planning
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Inservice Training
  • Terrorism
Contact
Organisation Name: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Contact Address: Center for Outcomes and Evidence Technology Assessment Program, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850, USA. Tel: +1 301 427 1610; Fax: +1 301 427 1639;
Contact Name: martin.erlichman@ahrq.hhs.gov
Contact Email: martin.erlichman@ahrq.hhs.gov
Copyright: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.