The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

IMPACT OF AN EDUCATIONAL INTERVENTION ON STAFF ATTITUDES IN REGARDS TO REPORTING TO WORK DURING A DISASTER SITUATION.

Randy Willis1, Ben Downs1, Ariel Berlinski1,2, Mark Heulitt1,2



Introduction: Current environment requires adequate preparation for disaster situations. However, the most elaborate plan will not be viable without the appropriate personnel coming to work. Therefore, awareness of "intention to come to work during a disaster situation" becomes a crucial element of disaster response planning. Many disaster situations require some type of respiratory support. Therefore, Respiratory Therapists are an essential component of the healthcare group necessary to take care of these patients. A previous staff survey at our institution showed that RT's would come to work in low numbers during a high-risk disaster scenario such as Avian Flu outbreak (* B. Downs et al. Disaster Preparedness - "Will you come to work? - An Employee Survey. Respir Care 2007;52(11) 1626. We hypothesized that providing healthcare workers with education about influenza and the effectiveness of personal protection equipment (PPE) would increase the number of staff that would be willing to report to work.

Methods: During a Pediatric Respiratory Care Conference held in Little Rock on May 2008 a Likert-scale survey was distributed among the187 attendees (48% RT's, 41% RN's, 8% MD's, and 3% other). A lecture was given by an ACH Infectious Disease Attending Physician. Specific teaching objectives included: influenza transmission, predictions of workload during epidemic and pandemic flu and discussion of PPE. Participants were asked to complete a pre and a post -lecture disaster-preparedness focused survey. 122 (65%) of the attendees completed the survey. The questions were similar to a survey administered at our Hospital in 2006 (*).

Results: (see table)

Conclusion: An educational intervention to healthcare providers increased the likelihood of them reporting to work in moderate and high-risk disaster situation scenarios by 10 and 20% respectively. However, the numbers are still low and threat the success of disaster planning. Therefore, it is essential that administrators should make ongoing creative efforts to be able to increase those numbers.