Aiming to positively improve local emergency department (ED) care during large scale mass gathering events is the focus of new Griffith University led research.

The study, which involves both public and private emergency departments, will look at the impact of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in terms of presentation numbers as well as the planning, preparedness and lessons learnt. This research will help inform operations for future mass gatherings locally, nationally and internationally.

The multi-site, collaborative study will involve local emergency departments including Gold Coast University Hospital, Robina Hospital, Gold Coast Private Hospital, John Flynn Private Hospital and Pindara Private Hospital.

“To date, the research in this area has been unclear with varying results of how large scale events such as the Olympics and Schoolies Week, impact on EDs,” says research lead Professor Julia Crilly from Griffith’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland and Gold Coast Health.

Analysing ED and costings data

The mixed method study will involve analysing ED and costings data from the five hospitals as well as interviewing health care clinicians and managers.

“Firstly we will be looking at how the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games impacts on the numbers and types of presentations at ED departments, both before, during and after the event,” says Professor Crilly. “This data will then be compared to the years before.”

“Secondly, there will be a qualitative aspect to the study with interviews taking place with medical and nursing staff as well as managers from all stakeholder hospitals and GOLDOC, asking them their perspectives surrounding the planning, preparedness, and lessons learnt from the Games.”

“In preparing for the CWG we were operating in the dark,” says Dr Benjamin Walters, director of Emergency Medicine at John Flynn and Pindara Private Hospitals.

“There was very little robust data from previous events. This made us extremely uncomfortable across the health service especially dealing with an event of the magnitude of the GC2018. This research will be the largest and most comprehensive description in the literature. It will leave a legacy that will assist health services across the globe.”

“Overall this study will provide us with a valuable opportunity to add value to the literature in this area, helping to understand the challenges that will support the planning for future mass gatherings, and provide opportunity for collaboration, as a positive legacy of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.”