A review of performance assessment tools for rescuer response in opioid overdose simulations and training programs

Prev Med Rep. 2020 Oct 21;20:101232. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2020.101232. eCollection 2020 Dec.


Since the 1990s, more than 600 overdose response training and education programs have been implemented to train participants to respond to an opioid overdose in the United States. Given this substantial investment in overdose response training, valid assessment of a potential rescuers' proficiency in responding to an opioid overdose is important. The aim of this article is to review the current state of the literature on outcome measures utilized in opioid overdose response training. Thirty-one articles published between 2014 and 2020 met inclusion criteria. The reviewed articles targeted laypersons, healthcare providers, and first responders. The assessment tools included five validated questionnaires, fifteen non-validated questionnaires, and nine non-validated simulation-based checklists (e.g., completion of critical tasks and time to completion). Validated multiple choice knowledge assessment tools were commonly used to assess the outcomes of training programs. It is unknown how scores on these assessment tools may correlate with actual rescuer performance responding to an overdose. Seven studies reported ceiling effects most likely attributed to participants' background medical knowledge or experience. The inclusion of simulation-based outcome measures of performance, including the commission of critical errors and the time to naloxone administration, provides better insight into rescuer skill proficiency.

Keywords: Naloxone; Outcome measures; Overdose response training; Proficiency; Simulation.

Publication types

  • Review