Latin America intensive care unit disaster preparedness: results from a web‑based attitudes and perceptions survey
Baez, Amado Alejandro
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Disasters burden on hospital emergency intensive care units (ICUs). This burden is increased in Latin America (LATAM) where hospital resources, intrahospital disaster simulations, and perceived level of preparedness vary greatly among different communities. The objective of the study was to assess LATAM ICU leaders’ knowledge and attitudes regarding disaster preparedness. Methods: We developed a ten‑item, web‑based knowledge and attitude survey administered via LATAM ICU leaders online forums. Descriptive statistics were used. Epi Info™ software was used for analysis. Chi‑square and Fisher’s exact test with P < 0.05 were implemented for statistical significance, and odds ratio was used to measure the strength of association among variables. Results: There were 68 respondents in the survey. 13/68 respondents felt prepared for disasters. 16/68 worked at hospitals with 250+ beds and 52/68 represented hospitals with <250 beds. 23/68 participated in hospital committees for disaster, 24/68 participated in simulations or drills, and 22/68 participated in trainings or courses for disasters. Feeling prepared for disasters did not correlate with hospital size (odds ratio [OR] = 2.87 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.83–9.92], P = 0.91), participation in hospital committees for disaster (OR = 3.10 [95% CI: 1.02–9.26], P = 0.08), and participation in simulations or drills (OR = 2.78 [95% CI: 0.93–8.29], P = 0.11), but participation in disaster trainings and courses appeared to directly correlate with the perception of being prepared (OR = 3.43 [95% CI: 1.13–10.41], P = 0.03). Conclusion: Among the 68 centers represented, the majority did not feel their institution to be adequately prepared for disasters, but training appeared to change that perception. A small sample size represents the major limitation of this study.
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