Prioritizing the needs of first aid evidence users: a priority exercise by Cochrane First Aid

Session Type
Priority setting
Laermans J1, Borra V2, Vandekerckhove P3, De Buck E1
1Cochrane First Aid; Centre for Evidence-Based Practice (CEBaP), Belgian Red Cross; Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Leuven Institute for Healthcare Policy, KU Leuven, Belgium
2Cochrane First Aid; Belgian Red Cross, Belgium
3Belgian Red Cross; Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Leuven Institute for Healthcare Policy, KU Leuven, Belgium

Background: When laypeople provide initial assistance to an ill or injured person, this is called 'first aid'. Cochrane First Aid packages Cochrane evidence relevant to first aid in easy-to-digest formats to laypeople, first aid trainers, and first aid guideline developers. In addition, we aim to translate the evidence needs of the first aid community into research priorities and advocate for the development of Cochrane systematic reviews relevant to first aid.
Objectives: To list first aid-related priority topics for new Cochrane systematic reviews.
Methods: First, we consulted the results of several existing priority exercises and evaluation surveys of different stakeholders in the field of first aid, i.e. the Global First Aid Reference Centre, the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation First Aid Task Force, and Belgian Red Cross. This allowed us to list topics for which it would be appropriate, relevant and necessary to systematically gather and synthesize the evidence in order to substantiate first aid recommendations. Next, we asked our stakeholders to prioritize these topics, based on their needs and sense of urgency. We shared a survey via our social media and other Cochrane communication channels, and sent it to the first aid volunteers of Belgian Red Cross. Calculating the average and median scores allowed us to rank the five most pressing topics. Finally, we surveyed stakeholders from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to determine which of these topics had highest priority to them specifically.
Results: We compiled a list of 14 first aid-related topics (see Table 1, column 1). Sixty-two people completed the survey, resulting in a list of five priority topics, with the effectiveness of first aid education being the most urgent one (column 2). The LMIC survey, answered by 9 people from 9 countries in Africa and Asia, revealed that having evidence available on which triage system is most effective was of the highest priority to them (column 3).
Conclusions: Performing this exercise and sharing the results with the relevant Cochrane Review Groups enabled us to prioritise the needs of our evidence users. The Cochrane review on first aid training for laypeople is currently underway.