Covid-19 and an outline of support tools and guidelines

By June 2, 2020 June 4th, 2020 No Comments

Ten people, from seven different high-volume helicopter medical emergency services (HEMS) from five different countries collaborated to make an article about Covid-19; support tools and guidelines.

The article is published here in Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine (SJTREM).

We asked the Per Bredmose, one of the writers, currently working in an Australian HEMS, about the purpose with the article, among other things.

Would you prefer guidelines that are more general than local?

– I think that a combination is great. The purpose with this article was to make at frame for making local tailored SOP’s. There are a general national / international consensus on many topics, however, local adjustments might improve the usability of the SOP. And SOP’s need to be tailored to individual HEMS-services. One size doesn’t fit all! There are huge differences in setup, tasking, equipment, and skills and experience on the staff.

What were the biggest similarities between the services regarding Covid-strategies? 

– The biggest similarity is that these are all world known services with huge volumes of patients and lots of inbuild experience in the organization. Also, all the services had to promptly make SOP’s for this event. 

And which ones were the biggest differences? 

– Configuration of transport vehicles varies a lot.

You must have had some discussions in the process of writing the article. Which were the biggest discussions? 

– We had surprisingly few discussions or disagreements. These were all experienced writers with an understanding of the differences in systems.

There are big differences in the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) among the services, so you do not make a specific recommendation, can you tell us a little bit about the variations? 

– PPE preferences and traditions are mostly based on each country’s advices. We did not want to overrule that. The goal was to give a list of topics that subsequently should be found in local SOPs. A sort of a check list for making own local SOPs.

The article outlines topics such as selection of patients, strategies at the hospital, actions after mission completion and how you can avoid contamination at the base – somehow following the flow of the patients.  In your opinion, what is the best way to prepare for managing the Covid patients ? 

– From our standpoint, the most important preparations are to develop an SOP that includes all parts/professions/roles of the service as well as run simulations to implement SOPs.

After you wrote this article, do you continue to share knowledge and experiences about the Covid patients? If so: how?

– Yes, we have ongoing communication about our experiences. Furthermore, the international webpage created and hosted by Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation is a really good and useful initiative.

What is the most effective way of spreading new knowledge and experiences in HEMS internationally and nationally? This question is both in context of the Covid patient, but also in general.

– Collaborative writing, creating networks among colleagues and web pages like the one mentioned above.