Background and objective: An influenza pandemic has the potential to overwhelm intensive care resources, but the views of the general public on how resources should be allocated in such a scenario were unknown. We aimed to determine Australian and New Zealand public opinion on how intensive care unit beds should be allocated during an influenza pandemic.
Design, setting, and participants: A postal questionnaire was sent to 4000 randomly selected registered voters; 2000 people each from the Australian Electoral Commission and New Zealand Electoral Commission rolls.
Main outcome measure: The respondents' preferred method to triage ICU patients in an influenza pandemic. Respondents chose from six methods: use a "first in, first served" approach; allow a senior doctor to decide; use pre-determined health department criteria; use random selection; use the patient's ability to pay; use the importance of the patient to decide. Respondents also rated each of the triage methods for fairness.
Results: Australian respondents preferred that patients be triaged to the ICU either by a senior doctor (43.2%) or by pre-determined health department criteria (38.7%). New Zealand respondents preferred that triage be performed by a senior doctor (45.9%). Respondents from both countries perceived triage by a senior doctor and by pre-determined health department criteria to be fair, and the other four methods of triage to be unfair.
Conclusion: In an influenza pandemic, when ICU resources would be overwhelmed, survey respondents preferred that ICU triage be performed by a senior doctor, but also perceived the use of pre-determined triage criteria to be fair.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Critical Care and Resuscitation|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2017|