Implementation of a checklist to improve pediatric trauma assessment quality in a Brazilian hospital

Pediatr Surg Int. 2021 Oct;37(10):1339-1348. doi: 10.1007/s00383-021-04941-y. Epub 2021 Jun 14.


Background: Trauma is the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in Brazil. Measurement of quality of care is important, as well as interventions that will help optimize treatment. We aimed to evaluate adherence to standardized trauma care following the introduction of a checklist in one of the busiest Latin American trauma centers.

Material and methods: A prospective, non-randomized interventional trial was conducted. Assessment of children younger than age 15 was performed before and after the introduction of a checklist for trauma primary survey assessment. Over the study period, each trauma primary survey was observed and adherence to each step of a standardized primary assessment protocol was recorded. Clinical outcomes including mortality, admission to pediatric intensive-care units, use of blood products, mechanical ventilation, and number of CT scans in the first 24 h were also assessed.

Results: A total of 80 patients were observed (39 pre-intervention and 41 post-intervention). No statistically significant differences were observed between the pre- and post-intervention groups in regard to adherence to checklist by specialty (57.7% versus 50.5%, p = 0.115) and outcomes. No mortality was observed.

Conclusion: In our trauma center, the quality of the adherence to standardized trauma assessment protocols is poor among both surgical and non-surgical providers. The quality of this assessment did not improve after the introduction of a checklist. Further work aimed at organizing the approach to pediatric trauma including triage and trauma education specifically for pediatric providers is needed.

Keywords: Child; Clinical protocols; Education; Wound and injuries.