We are all vested in making sure families of medically complex children have the information they need to alert medical and non-medical personnel what to do if their children need medical attention—and a great way to do this is to provide these families with an “Emergency Information Form (EIF)”. But just how critical is it for a family to have this form with them when they do seek medical attention? Abraham et al. (10.1542/peds.2016-0847) decided to use simulation techniques to investigate this question.
The authors tested 24 providers (experienced and in-training) with resuscitation scenarios in which participants were randomized to receive or not receive an EIF at the time of the resuscitation. Resuscitation performance was independently evaluated using “critical action scores” and providers filled out questionnaires rating the benefits of having the EIF. The differences in the scores (with EIFS making a big difference) and the time for completion of the scenario, not to mention the reductions in complication rates that occurred during the scenarios are all impressive outcomes in this study independent of the level of provider experience. Of course providers found that EIFs make a big difference in improving the clinical outcomes achieved.
Although this was an excellent use of simulation for demonstrating the importance of EIFs, we realize it did not represent actual resuscitations. Yet there is much to still be learned from this study and Dr. Lee Pyles (10.1542/peds.2016-1715) provides added expertise in a commentary to recognize just how important an EIF form can be. If you are not giving your medical complex patients an EIF, after reading this study and commentary, you are going to want to do so.
Read both articles and you’ll see what we mean.