Management of resources at major incidents and disasters in relation to patient outcome: a pilot study of an educational model

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Background and objectives

Organizations involved in disaster response often have a defined operative level of management (command and control) that can take the overall decisions regarding the mobilization and distribution of resources and distribution of casualties. This level of management can be referred to as strategic management. The aim of this pilot study was to show the possibility, in simulation exercises, to relate decisions made regarding resources to patient outcome.


The simulation system used measures to determine if lifesaving interventions are performed in time or not in relation to patient outcome. Evaluation was made with sets of performance indicators as templates and all management groups were evaluated not only as to how the decisions were made (management skills), but also how staff work was performed (staff procedure skills).


Owing to inadequate response and insufficient distribution of patients to hospitals, 11 ‘patients’ died in the simulated incident, a fire at a football stand with subsequent collapse. The strategic level of management received 16 points out of a possible 22 according to a predesigned template of performance indicators.


The pilot study demonstrated the possibility to, in simulation exercises, relate decisions made regarding resources to patient outcome. This training technique could possibly lead to increased knowledge in what decisions are crucial to make in an early phase to minimize mortality and morbidity.

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