Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
Emergency Department (ED) attendances are an excellent opportunity for education interventions. A variety of written information is given to patients in EDs. There is some evidence of this working well in other areas but it is unproven in first aid. The study seeks to question if there is an improvement in confidence in the first aid treatment of injuries if patients are given written information while in the ED.
Who can participate?
Adult patients coming to the ED with limb injuries, wounds and head injuries
What does the study involve?
Patients are randomly allocated to one of two groups: the intervention or the control group. Intervention group patients will be asked to complete two questionnaires: first, in person in the ED while waiting to be seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner, and second, 4 weeks later a questionnaire is completed by phone. Control group patients receive normal care.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
The possible benefit to participants would be an improved confidence in managing first aid problems. There is minimal risk to the patients. The questionnaire is designed to be simple and take very little time. Research team members will not have clinical commitments while recruiting patients so ED staffing levels will not be affected. Should a patient be identified as in significant distress or pain, the researchers will inform the clinical staff responsible in preference to completing the study consent and survey. During the follow-up questionnaire, should clinical advice be sought by the patient, they will be directed to their own GP, out of hours services, or ED. This is because the research team may not be familiar with giving clinical advice by phone, and the inability to generate medical documentation from these discussions. Should any complaint be raised by the patient during follow-up questioning, the patient will be directed to the Patient Advice Liaison Service.
Where is the study run from?
The ED at the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield (UK) and the Minor Injuries Unit at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield (UK)
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
It is due to recruit in March-April 2014 with follow-up questionnaires in April-May 2014 and records checked for re-attendances to the ED in June-July 2014
Who is funding the study?
The British Red Cross (UK)
Who is the main contact?
Dr David Pallot
Prof Suzanne Mason
Health Services Research
School of Health and Related Research
30 Regent Street
+44 (0)114 2220694
Written information providing first aid advice for patients presenting to the Emergency Department: a randomised controlled trial
Giving written first aid information will result in an improvement of patients' confidence in managing injuries in future. This may lead to better self-care and potentially even fewer attendances to the Emergency Department.
NRES Committee East of England - Cambridge South, 28/02/2014, REC ref: 14/EE/0072
Single-centre randomised controlled interventional trial questionnaire study
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Patient information sheet
Patient information can be found at https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxEofEMwq3fNQVVDZkJoMUk2ZzA/edit?pli=1
Minor injuries: wounds, limb injuries, and head injuries
Patients will be randomised in clusters by the day they attend the ED to either the intervention arm or the control arm. The intervention group will receive an additional information leaflet giving information on first aid for the injury they have sustained; this will be in addition to normal care which would not be altered. The control group will receive all normal care, including any other verbal or written information they would normally receive about the after-care for their injury. Both arms will be followed up at 4 weeks by telephone. ED records will be checked at 3 months for reattendances for both arms.
Primary outcome measure
Confidence in first aid management if the patient were to suffer the an injury again, assessed at baseline and follow-up
Secondary outcome measures
1. Confidence of first aid management to someone else. Confidence in first aid will be measured on a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 being 'Not confident' and 10 being 'Very confident' with half measures being accepted.
2. Improvement in the correct knowledge of first aid. Correct knowledge of first aid will be assessed based on an answer to an open question; answers will be marked correct if key words or phrases are used in the absence of any treatments which would be harmful.
3. How useful the written information was rated. Use of the material will be assessed using a series of yes/no questions and asking them to rate its usefulness on a scale of 0 ('not useful') to 10 ('very useful').
4. The use of other first aid information; related and unrelated reattendances to the Emergency Department within 3 months. The reattendance outcomes will be measured at 3 months by reviewing ED records at that time.
Most outcomes will be measured during the patients' attendance to the ED by a researcher in person, and at 4 weeks by telephone. Questionnaires will be used.
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Presenting to the Emergency Department at the Northern General Hospital, or Minor Injury Unit at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital during the study period between 9am and 8pm.
2. Book in to reception with the presenting complaint of a head injury, limb injury, or wound between the hours of 9am and 8pm during the study period.
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Patients who do not themselves read English
2. Patients who are unable to consent
3. Patients who are resident in a care home
4. Patients with self-inflicted injuries
5. Patients with serious injury requiring immediate resuscitation or treatment
6. Patients over the age of 65 with suspected fractured neck of femur
7. Healthcare professionals
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Northern General Hospital
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Herries Road
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (UK)
Clinical Research Office Sheffield
11 Broomfield Road
British Red Cross (UK)
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
No current plans for further publication.
IPD sharing statement
The datasets generated during and analysed during the current study are not expected to be made available due to lack of consent of the participants (the study took place before recent guidelines about data sharing, and participants were informed that their data would be kept confidential).
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Not expected to be available
Basic results (scientific)
2015 abstract in: http://emj.bmj.com/content/32/12/1000.1