InCrowd Survey: 2/3 of ER Staff Don’t Feel Ready for the Next Terrorist Attack
By Charu Gupta

ER and Critical Care Staff Have Concerns About Staffing, Blood Supply, Available Beds, Patient Anxiety and Mental Health

BOSTON, MA – Two thirds of ER and critical care staff in the United States don’t feel their hospitals are prepared to handle the victims of the next terrorist attack or other mass casualty event, according to new data compiled by InCrowd, a provider of real-time market intelligence to life sciences and healthcare firms. The 5-minute mobile microsurvey taken in the wake of recent terrorist attacks suggests that teams worry about key elements of operational readiness, despite mandated practice and extensive training for mass casualty events.
InCrowd asked US ER and critical care physicians and ER and critical care nurses from its Crowd of 1.8 million global clinicians about the operational readiness of their respective hospitals, rating them on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 and 2 being “strongly agree” and “agree” respectively. The microsurvey took less than 5 minutes to complete and also rated and ranked other key aspects of disaster response.

  • Only 32% strongly agreed or agreed that their hospital had adequate staff to mobilize in a similar situation to the attacks that occurred in Paris in November. Similarly only 41% strongly agreed or agreed their hospital was ready to respond to the victims of a similar terrorist attacks. Available beds (only 26% believed they were sufficient) and adequate blood supply (only 32%) were the top concerns.
  • Surgeon availability is paramount during disasters, yet only half of the respondents felt their facility would have enough surgeons on hand during a mass casualty event. Additional triage staff and additional staff training top the ranks as the most needed elements for hospital readiness, at 30% and 31% respectively. But still, many polled were undecided about the readiness of resources and needs.
  • ER nursing staff clearly felt that patient anxiety today is on the rise as a result of recent terrorist attacks, with 42% of nurses observing a rise in patients, versus 25% of doctors observing this rise. Yet only 35% strongly agreed or agreed that their facility would have enough mental health staff available during a terrorist event — a concern given the impact of such events, particularly on at-risk groups.
  • Interestingly ER nurses appeared to feel more prepared than ER doctors in the survey. Nurses ranked the adequacy of surgeon availability at their hospitals higher than doctors did, with 56% of nurses compared to 33% of doctors agreeing or strongly agreeing. Nurses also saw crisis training as a greater need for their hospitals than doctors — 36% to 27% respectively.

“We are unfortunately gaining more experience with preparedness, or lack thereof, given the recent mass casualties in the US and abroad. While preparation is of utmost importance, it is clearly hard to prepare for horrific events like those of recent days,” said Diane Hayes, PhD, president and co-founder of InCrowd. “Learning about perceived weaknesses from our ER and critical care clinicians will hopefully help us improve our infrastructure for quick and efficient care in times of crisis.”

The microsurvey included 102 respondents — 52 ER physicians and 50 ER nurses — fielded on November 24, 2015 in under 2 hours using InCrowd’s real-time platform.

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