open access

Vol 66, No 4 (2015)
MARITIME MEDICINE Original articles
Published online: 2015-12-22
Submitted: 2015-12-22
Accepted: 2015-12-22
Get Citation

Medical emergency announcements on cruise ships: an audit of outcome

Christopher James Taylor
DOI: 10.5603/IMH.2015.0040
·
Pubmed: 26726890
·
International Maritime Health 2015;66(4):203-206.

open access

Vol 66, No 4 (2015)
MARITIME MEDICINE Original articles
Published online: 2015-12-22
Submitted: 2015-12-22
Accepted: 2015-12-22

Abstract

Background: Public address announcements are an effective way of alerting staff on cruise ships to life -threatening medical emergencies on-board, but should only be used when truly necessary. An audit to investigate the outcome following this method of activating the medical emergency response team (MERT) suggested system flaws. A new elementary first aid training programme for the crew was then developed, emphasising patient assessment and the correct determination of appropriate levels of response. Following fleet-wide implementation, post-intervention audits were performed on two other company ships to evaluate the impact of the new approach.

Materials and methods: Data from all MERT activations initiated by public address announcement were prospectively collected during the audit periods, including subsequent means of transfer to the ship’s medical centre and duration of medical intervention as indicators of clinical severity.

Results: After changing the training programme the overall rate of public announcements for medical emergencies fell by 43%. The proportion of patients requiring transfer by stretcher increased from 5% to 33%, whilst the proportion of patients requiring ≥ 4 h of medical intervention increased from 5% to 44%.

Conclusions: The audits suggest that the new training programme may have improved the first aid responders’ decision-making as there were fewer inappropriate emergency announcements over the public address system. However, two-thirds of all MERT activations were still for patients either well enough to walk or only needing a wheelchair for subsequent transfer, indicating ongoing opportunity for improvement.  

Abstract

Background: Public address announcements are an effective way of alerting staff on cruise ships to life -threatening medical emergencies on-board, but should only be used when truly necessary. An audit to investigate the outcome following this method of activating the medical emergency response team (MERT) suggested system flaws. A new elementary first aid training programme for the crew was then developed, emphasising patient assessment and the correct determination of appropriate levels of response. Following fleet-wide implementation, post-intervention audits were performed on two other company ships to evaluate the impact of the new approach.

Materials and methods: Data from all MERT activations initiated by public address announcement were prospectively collected during the audit periods, including subsequent means of transfer to the ship’s medical centre and duration of medical intervention as indicators of clinical severity.

Results: After changing the training programme the overall rate of public announcements for medical emergencies fell by 43%. The proportion of patients requiring transfer by stretcher increased from 5% to 33%, whilst the proportion of patients requiring ≥ 4 h of medical intervention increased from 5% to 44%.

Conclusions: The audits suggest that the new training programme may have improved the first aid responders’ decision-making as there were fewer inappropriate emergency announcements over the public address system. However, two-thirds of all MERT activations were still for patients either well enough to walk or only needing a wheelchair for subsequent transfer, indicating ongoing opportunity for improvement.  

Get Citation

Keywords

seafarer, first aid training, education, medical emergency response team, code, passenger ship, STCW 1978

About this article
Title

Medical emergency announcements on cruise ships: an audit of outcome

Journal

International Maritime Health

Issue

Vol 66, No 4 (2015)

Pages

203-206

Published online

2015-12-22

DOI

10.5603/IMH.2015.0040

Pubmed

26726890

Bibliographic record

International Maritime Health 2015;66(4):203-206.

Keywords

seafarer
first aid training
education
medical emergency response team
code
passenger ship
STCW 1978

Authors

Christopher James Taylor

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