Once bitten, twice shy: How consistent is the management of snake bite victims in Australian emergency departments?

No Thumbnail Available
File version
Author(s)
Kain, Victoria
Jesberg, Andrew
Griffith University Author(s)
Primary Supervisor
Other Supervisors
Editor(s)
Date
2011
Size
File type(s)
Location
License
Abstract

Background: There are approximately 3000 snakebite presentations to emergency departments in Australia each year; of these, almost 500 patients will require anti-venom treatment. The complexities of clinical symptoms can provide a difficult and challenging clinical presentation in the emergency room. Clinical judgement and laboratory testing, in conjunction with geographic location and a description of the snake, are essential in identifying the correct species. Specific antivenom is required for the treatment of severe snake envenomation, but carries the risk of a hypersensitivity reaction to the treatment.

Aim: The aim of this study was to determine whether clinical protocols for the management of snake envenomated patients are consistent and informed by the best available evidence.

Method: This study utilised a non-experimental, retrospective design to develop a clinical audit tool to extrapolate data from clinical protocols with a purposive sample of tertiary healthcare facilities in eastern border states of Australia.

Results: Clinical protocols were analysed from six tertiary hospitals. The data from the audit tool were organised into six domains: First aid; symptom identification; clinical assessment; clinical management; antivenom therapy; and management of an anaphylactic reaction. There were inconsistencies across all domains; only two of the protocols were informed by evidence in the form of a reference list.

Conclusion: The significance of the inconsistencies in these clinical protocols need to be determined, and furthermore, whether there is an association with adverse patient outcomes. In order to guide clinicians in best practice to treat snake envenomated patients, standardised policies and protocols, informed by evidence, may be required in Australian healthcare facilities.

Journal Title
Conference Title
Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal
Book Title
Edition
Volume
Issue
Thesis Type
Degree Program
School
Publisher link
Patent number
Funder(s)
Grant identifier(s)
Rights Statement
Rights Statement
Item Access Status
Note
Access the data
Related item(s)
Subject
Nursing
Persistent link to this record
Citation
Kain, V; Jesberg, A, Once bitten, twice shy: How consistent is the management of snake bite victims in Australian emergency departments?, Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal, 2011, 14 (Supplement 1), pp. S1-S2