Prehospital use of the traction splint for suspected mid-shaft femur fractures

Introduction: A retrospective audit of electronic patient care records (ePCRs) highlighted the infrequent use of the traction splint for the management of femur fractures. The aim of this study was to improve the use of the traction splint for patients presenting with a mid-shaft femur fracture in the absence of contraindications, by means of introducing a purpose-designed trauma CPD training course. Methods: An intervention consisting of a simulation-based mandatory trauma CPD training session for all operational prehospital care providers was implemented over a 3-month period, supported by a pre- and post-implementation staff survey regarding staff perceptions of using a traction splint. Following the intervention period, a repeat retrospective audit of the ePCR database was conducted to identify any improvement in the use of the traction splint. Results: The use of the traction splint for a femur fracture in the pre-intervention stage was found to be underutilised (Median 16%). Following the intervention period, however, traction splint use increased significantly (Median 50%). An improvement was also noted in staff perception and understanding of the management of femur fractures. Conclusion: This study found that focused trauma training is an effective means to improve patient care. Training should be ongoing in order to maintain skills and knowledge needed for management of femur fractures.

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