Increasing Evidence-Based Interventions in Patients with Acute Infections in a Resource-Limited Setting: A Before-and-After Feasibility Trial in Gitwe, Rwanda

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Abstract

Objective:

To evaluate whether a focused education program and implementation of a treatment bundle increases the rate of early evidence-based interventions in patients with acute infections.

Design:

Single-center, prospective, before-and-after feasibility trial.

Setting:

Emergency department of a sub-Saharan African district hospital.

Patients:

Patients > 28 days of life admitted to the study hospital for an acute infection.

Interventions:

The trial had three phases (each of four months). Interventions took place during the second (educational program followed by implementation of the treatment bundle) and third (provision of resources to implement treatment bundle) phases.

Measurements and Main Results:

Demographic, clinical, and laboratory data were collected at study enrollment; 24, 48, and 72 hours after hospital admission; and at discharge. A total of 1,594 patients were enrolled (pre-intervention, n = 661; intervention I, n = 531; intervention II, n = 402). The rate of early evidence-based interventions per patient during Intervention Phase I was greater than during the pre-intervention phase (74 ± 17 vs. 79 ± 15%, p < 0.001). No difference was detected when data were compared between Intervention Phases I and II (79 ± 15 vs. 80 ± 15%, p = 0.58). No differences in the incidence of blood transfusion (pre-intervention, 6%; intervention I, 7%; intervention II, 7%) or severe adverse events in the first 24 hours (allergic reactions: pre-intervention, 0.2%; intervention I, 0%; intervention II, 0%; respiratory failure: pre-intervention, 2%; intervention I, 2%; intervention II, 2%; acute renal failure: pre-intervention, 2%; intervention I, 2%; intervention II, 1%) were observed.

Conclusions:

Our results indicate that a focused education program and implementation of an infection treatment bundle in clinical practice increased the rate of early evidence-based interventions in patients with acute infections (mostly malaria) admitted to a sub-Saharan African district hospital. Provision of material resources did not further increase this rate. While no safety issues were detected, this could be related to the very low disease severity of the enrolled patient population (www.clinicaltrials.gov: NCT02697513).

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