Swine Flu Triage

Status: Published

What was this study about?

SwiFT involved the development and ongoing refinement of a triage tool to provide regular information to guide immediate critical care policy and practice during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic. 'Triage' is a system for deciding the order in which patients should be treated depending on the urgency of their need.

The aims of the SwiFT study were:

  • to use existing data in the Case Mix Programme database and data collected early during the swine flu (H1N1) pandemic 2009 to guide patient care during the pandemic with a possible use for triage if there was an increased demand for critical care services; and
  • to monitor the impact of the H1N1 pandemic on critical care services with regular feedback to critical care clinicians (doctors and nurses) to inform ongoing policy and practice.

This study used data from the Case Mix Programme.

What did the study find?

Data on 105,397 admissions to 148 critical care units participating in the Case Mix Programme were analysed and suggested there was limited value for triage.

Data were collected by 192 hospitals in the UK and the Republic of Ireland on 1728 H1N1 pandemic-related admissions who required critical care. Fortunately the H1N1 pandemic did not overwhelm critical care services and the confirmed H1N1 cases in the UK and Republic of Ireland were similar to those reported internationally.

Who led the study?

Professor Kathy Rowan, ICNARC

The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research – Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme (Project: 09/86/01)

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