Background: Conducting a thorough after-action review (AAR) process is an important component in improving preparedness for mass casualty incidents (MCIs).
Purposes: The study aimed to develop a structured AAR tool for use by medical teams in emergency departments after an MCI and to identify the best possible procedure for its conduct.
Basic procedures: On the basis of knowledge acquired from an extensive literature review, a structured tool for conducting an AAR in the emergency department was developed. A modified Delphi process was conducted to achieve content validity of the tool, involving 48 medical professionals from all 6 level I trauma centers in Israel. The AAR tool was tested during a simulated MCI drill.
Main findings: All experts support the conduct of an AAR in the ED after an MCI to build and maintain capacity for an adequate emergency response. More than 80% agreement was achieved regarding 14 components that were implemented in the proposed AAR tool. Ninety-four percent perceived that AARs should be conducted within 24 hours from the event using both written reports and face-to-face discussions. Both physicians and nurses should participate. The incident manager should lead the AAR, limiting the time allocated for each speaker and for the AAR in whole.
Principle conclusions: Conducting a structured AAR in all emergency departments after an MCI facilitates both learning lessons regarding the function of the medical staff and ventilation of feelings, thus mitigating anxieties and expediting a speedy return to normalcy.
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