Disaster preparedness of Canadian trauma centres: the perspective of medical directors of trauma.
ABSTRACT Owing to their constant readiness to treat injured patients, trauma centres are essential to regional responses to mass casualty incidents (MCIs). Reviews of recent MCIs suggest that trauma centre preparedness has frequently been limited. We set out to evaluate Canadian trauma centre preparedness and the extent of their integration into a regional response to MCIs.
We conducted a survey of Canadian level-1 trauma centres (n = 29) to characterize their existing disaster-response plans and to identify areas where preparedness could be improved. The survey was directed to the medical director of trauma at each centre. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze responses.
Twenty-three (79%) trauma centres in 5 provinces responded. Whereas most (83%) reported the presence of a committee dedicated to disaster preparedness, only half of the medical directors of trauma were members of these committees. Almost half (43%) the institutions had not run any disaster drill in the previous 2 years. Only 70% of trauma centres used communications assets designed to function during MCIs. Additionally, more than half of the trauma directors (59%) did not know if their institutions had the ability to sustain operations for at least 72 hours during MCIs.
The results of this study suggest important opportunities to better prepare Canadian trauma centers to respond to an MCI. The main areas identified for potential improvement include the need for the standardization of MCI planning and response at a regional level and the implementation of strategies such as stockpiling of resources and novel communication strategies to avoid functional collapse during an MCI.