Planning volunteer responses to low-volume mass gatherings: Do event characteristics predict patient workload?

Woodall, John, Watt, Kerrianne, Walker, Damien, Tippett, Vivienne, Enraght-Moony, Emma, Bertolo, Chris, Mildwaters, Brett and Morrison, Glen (2010) Planning volunteer responses to low-volume mass gatherings: Do event characteristics predict patient workload?. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 25 5: 442-448. doi:10.1017/S1049023X00008542

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Author Woodall, John
Watt, Kerrianne
Walker, Damien
Tippett, Vivienne
Enraght-Moony, Emma
Bertolo, Chris
Mildwaters, Brett
Morrison, Glen
Title Planning volunteer responses to low-volume mass gatherings: Do event characteristics predict patient workload?
Journal name Prehospital and Disaster Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1049-023X
Publication date 2010-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/S1049023X00008542
Volume 25
Issue 5
Start page 442
End page 448
Total pages 7
Place of publication New York, NY, United States
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Introduction: Workforce planning for first aid and medical coverage of mass gatherings is hampered by limited research. In particular, the characteristics and likely presentation patterns of low-volume mass gatherings of between several hundred to several thousand people are poorly described in the existing literature.
Objectives: This study was conducted to:
1. Describe key patient and event characteristics of medical presentations at a series of mass gatherings, including events smaller than those previously described in the literature;
2. Determine whether event type and event size affect the mean number of patients presenting for treatment per event, and specifically, whether the 1:2,000 deployment rule used by St John Ambulance Australia is appropriate; and
3. Identify factors that are predictive of injury at mass gatherings.
Methods: A retrospective, observational, case-series design was used to examine all cases treated by two Divisions of St John Ambulance (Queensland) in the greater metropolitan Brisbane region over a three-year period (01 January 2002-31 December 2004). Data were obtained from routinely collected patient treatment forms completed by St John officers at the time of treatment. Event-related data (e.g., weather, event size) were obtained from event forms designed for this study. Outcome measures include: total and average number of patient presentations for each event; event type; and event size category. Descriptive analyses were conducted using chi-square tests, and mean presentations per event and event type were investigated using Kruskal-Wallis tests. Logistic regression analyses were used to identify variables independently associated with injury presentation (compared with non-injury presentations).
Results: Over the three-year study period, St John Ambulance officers treated 705 patients over 156 separate events. The mean number of patients who presented with any medical condition at small events (less than or equal to 2,000 attendees) did not differ significantly from that of large (>2,000 attendees) events (4.44 vs. 4.67, F = 0.72, df = 1, 154, p = 0.79). Logistic regression analyses indicated that presentation with an injury compared with non-injury was independently associated with male gender, winter season, and sporting events, even after adjusting for relevant variables.
Conclusions: In this study of low-volume mass gatherings, a similar number of patients sought medical treatment at small (<2,000 patrons) and large (>2,000 patrons) events. This demonstrates that for low-volume mass gatherings, planning based solely on anticipated event size may be flawed, and could lead to inappropriate levels of first-aid coverage. This study also highlights the importance of considering other factors, such as event type and patient characteristics, when determining appropriate first-aid resourcing for low-volume events. Additionally, identification of factors predictive of injury presentations at mass gatherings has the potential to significantly enhance the ability of event coordinators to plan effective prevention strategies and response capability for these events.
Keyword Casualty presentations
First aid
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 3 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 02 Mar 2011, 13:08:33 EST by Geraldine Fitzgerald on behalf of School of Public Health