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Portrait of rural emergency departments in Quebec

30 Apr 2013


Emergency departments are important safety nets for people who live in rural areas. Moreover, a serious problem in access to healthcare services has emerged in these regions. The challenges of providing access to quality rural emergency care include recruitment and retention issues, lack of advanced imagery technology, lack of specialist support and the heavy reliance on ambulance transport over great distances. The Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services published a new version of the Emergency Department Management Guide, a document designed to improve the emergency department management and to humanise emergency department care and services. In particular, the Guide recommends solutions to problems that plague rural emergency departments. Unfortunately, no studies have evaluated the implementation of the proposed recommendations.

Methods and analysis

To develop a comprehensive portrait of all rural emergency departments in Quebec, data will be gathered from databases at the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services, the Quebec Trauma Registry and from emergency departments and ambulance services managers. Statistics Canada data will be used to describe populations and rural regions. To evaluate the use of the 2006 Emergency Department Management Guide and the implementation of its various recommendations, an online survey and a phone interview will be administered to emergency department managers. Two online surveys will evaluate quality of work life among physicians and nurses working at rural emergency departments. Quality-of-care indicators will be collected from databases and patient medical files. Data will be analysed using statistical (descriptive and inferential) procedures.

Ethics and dissemination

This protocol has been approved by the CSSS Alphonse–Desjardins research ethics committee (Project MP-HDL-1213-011). The results will be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and presented at one or more scientific conferences.

30 April 2013

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open