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Evaluation of timeliness and models of transporting critically ill children for intensive care: the DEPICT mixed-methods study

Ramnarayan, Padmanabhan; Seaton, Sarah; Evans, Ruth; Barber, Victoria; Hudson, Emma; Kung, Enoch; Entwistle, Matthew; ... Pagel, Christina; + view all (2022) Evaluation of timeliness and models of transporting critically ill children for intensive care: the DEPICT mixed-methods study. Health and Social Care Delivery Research , 10 (34) pp. 1-204. 10.3310/AFWJ6179. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Centralisation of paediatric intensive care has increased the need for specialist critical care transport teams to transfer sick children from general hospitals to tertiary centres. National audit data show variation in how quickly transport teams reach the patient’s bedside and in the models of care provided during transport; however, the impact of this variation on clinical outcomes and the experience of patients, families and clinicians is unknown. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to understand if and how clinical outcomes and experience of children transported for intensive care are affected by timeliness of access to a transport team and different models of transport care. METHODS: We used a mixed-methods approach with a convergent triangulation study design. There were four study workstreams: a retrospective analysis of linked national clinical audit data (2014–16) (workstream A), a prospective questionnaire study to collect experience data from parents of transported children and qualitative analysis of interviews with patients, families and clinicians (workstream B), health economic evaluation of paediatric transport services (workstream C) and mathematical modelling evaluating the potential impact of alternative service configurations (workstream D). RESULTS: Transport data from over 9000 children were analysed in workstream A. Transport teams reached the patient bedside within 3 hours of accepting the referral in > 85% of transports, and there was no apparent association between time to bedside and 30-day mortality. Similarly, the grade of the transport team leader or stabilisation approach did not appear to affect mortality. Patient-related critical incidents were associated with higher mortality (adjusted odds ratio 3.07, 95% confidence interval 1.48 to 6.35). In workstream B, 2133 parents completed experience questionnaires pertaining to 2084 unique transports of 1998 children. Interviews were conducted with 30 parents and 48 staff. Regardless of the actual time to bedside, parent satisfaction was higher when parents were kept informed about the team’s arrival time and when their expectation matched the actual arrival time. Satisfaction was lower when parents were unsure who the team leader was or when they were not told who the team leader was. Staff confidence, rather than seniority, and the choice for parents to travel with their child in the ambulance were identified as key factors associated with a positive experience. The health economic evaluation found that team composition was variable between transport teams, but not significantly associated with cost and outcome measures. Modelling showed marginal benefit in changing current transport team locations, some benefit in reallocating existing teams and suggested where additional transport teams could be allocated in winter to cope with the expected surge in demand. LIMITATIONS: Our analysis plans were limited by the impact of the pandemic. Unmeasured confounding may have affected workstream A findings. CONCLUSIONS: There is no evidence that reducing the current 3-hour time-to-bedside target for transport teams will improve patient outcomes, although timeliness is an important consideration for parents and staff. Improving communication during transport and providing parents the choice to travel in the ambulance with their child are two key service changes to enhance patient/family experience. FUTURE WORK: More research is needed to develop suitable risk-adjustment tools for paediatric transport and to validate the short patient-related experience measure developed in this study. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial is registered as ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03520192. FUNDING: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Health and Social Care Delivery Research programme and will be published in full in Health and Social Care Delivery Research; Vol. 10, No. 34. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.

Type: Article
Title: Evaluation of timeliness and models of transporting critically ill children for intensive care: the DEPICT mixed-methods study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3310/AFWJ6179
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3310/AFWJ6179
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 Ramnarayan et al. This work was produced by Ramnarayan et al. under the terms of a commissioning contract issued by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. This is an Open Access publication distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 4.0 licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Mathematics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Mathematics > Clinical Operational Research Unit
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Applied Health Research
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Infection, Immunity and Inflammation Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10162335
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