Epistaxis first-aid management: a needs assessment among healthcare providers

J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021 Feb 11;50(1):7. doi: 10.1186/s40463-020-00485-8.


Purpose: To perform a needs assessment of epistaxis first-aid measures practiced by family physicians and Emergency Department (ED) staff in London, Ontario, Canada.

Methods: Paper-based multiple-choice questionnaires were distributed to participants. Participant recruitment was conducted in two parts: 1) 28 Emergency Medicine (EM) attending physicians, 21 resident physicians training in the ED, and 26 ED nurses were surveyed while on duty in the ED; 2) 27 family physicians providing walk-in or urgent care and attending a continuing medical education (CME) event were also surveyed. Respondents were asked to identify where to apply compression to the nose and how patients should be positioned during acute epistaxis.

Results: Regarding where to apply compression, 19% of family physicians, 43% of EM physicians, 24% of residents, and 8% of ED nurses responded correctly. Regarding positioning, all groups responded similarly with 54-62% responding correctly. Twenty-one percent of emergency physicians, 19% of residents, 11% of family physicians, and 4% of nurses responded correctly to both questions.

Conclusions: Most family physicians, EM attending physicians, ED nurses, and residents could not correctly identify basic first-aid measures for acute epistaxis. This study identifies an area where knowledge is lacking and the potential for improvement in patient management and education.

Keywords: Compression; Continuing medical education; Epistaxis; First aid; Healthcare professionals; Survey study; Urgent care.