COVID ED Experiences Study

Emergency providers’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative study of Canadian pediatric emergency departments

Study Summary

In Canada, the first case of COVID-19 was identified on January 20, 2020. Cases have since then multiplied, and the Canadian healthcare system has been preparing for the treatment of a very high number of patients. Emergency Departments (EDs) are the point of entry to the hospital for severely ill patients with COVID-19. The experiences of healthcare professionals in the time of a pandemic have been only very little described, and no study has examined emergency professionals’ experiences. Professionals deal with issues regarding: (1) the balance of safety - their own and their families’ - and professional duty to care, (2) the altered relationship with patients, including the increased risk of contamination, how to provide the usual standard of care and the allocation of scarce resources such as intensive care beds and ventilators, (3) their relationships with their colleagues, departments, institutions and governments, especially regarding trust, transparency and reciprocity, and (4) expanding the scope of usual clinical practice. These four aspects of emergency professionals’ experiences and perspectives are unique to the practice of medicine in the context of a pandemic and heightened on the frontlines of emergency medicine. The objective of this study is to explore ED professionals’ and staffs’ experiences and perspectives during the COVID-19 pandemic across Canadian pediatric EDs. This information is required to better understand how to prepare emergency professionals to care in the time of a pandemic, and how to develop institutional and government emergency preparedness policies that respond to their frontline’s needs during a pandemic.

Objectives

  1. To prospectively explore ED professionals’ and support/custodial staff experiences and perspectives during the COVID-19 pandemic in pediatric EDs across Canada
  2. To identify the relative importance of different themes and issues, depending on timing within the pandemic
  3. To compare the perspectives of ED health professionals (physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists) to those of support and custodial staff

Principal Study Investigator: Dr. Nathalie Gaucher

Leading Institution: Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine

PERT Site Investigator: Dr. Graham Thompson

Study Team: Dr. Anne-Josée Côté, Dr. Bertrand Lavoie, Dr. Claude-Julie Bourque, Dr. Véronique Castonguay, Dr. Evelyne Doyon-Trottier, Maryse Lagacé, Érika Fontaine-Pagé, Jean-François Gadbois, Dr. Samina Ali, Manasi Rajagopal, Dr. Ran Goldman