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Variations in Code Team Composition During Different Times of Day and Week and by Level of Hospital Complexity

      Background

      Previous data demonstrated lower survival rates of in-hospital cardiac arrests during nights and weekends compared to weekday daytime. This study aimed to evaluate variations of personnel attending to codes based on day/night/weekend conditions within the US Veterans Affairs (VA) system, as well as variations of personnel responsible for intubations during codes.

      Methods

      Hospital leaders were surveyed regarding code team membership, leadership, and intubations during four time periods (weekday daytime, weekday nighttime, weekend daytime, and weekend nighttime).

      Results

      Surveys were completed for 93 of 123 eligible VA hospitals (response rate of 75.6%). Code teams were significantly smaller during “off-hours.” Membership in code teams during regular vs. off-hours was significantly greater for ICU physicians (44.1% vs. 7.5%–15.0%, p < 0.001), anesthesiologists (34.4% vs. 12.9%, p < 0.001), and pharmacists (46.2% vs. 23.7%–26.9%, p < 0.01). Significant differences were found for codes led by ICU attendings (20.4% vs. 5.4%–7.5%, p < 0.05) and intubations performed by ICU attendings (21.5% vs. 6.5%–10.8%, p < 0.05). ICU–based physicians were team leaders more often in high-complexity hospitals (19.7%–50.0% vs. 0%–14.8%), while hospitalists led the majority in the low-complexity hospitals (28.8%–39.4% vs. 63.0%–70.4%). ICU physicians had significantly less involvement in code intubations in low-complexity hospitals (6.1%–22.7% vs. 3.7%–18.5%), while respiratory therapists took on most of this responsibility in low-complexity hospitals and particularly at night.

      Conclusion

      This study found significant differences in code team composition, leadership, and intubation responsibilities between regular and off-hours. Low-complexity hospitals, which are generally rural, had team compositions and responsibilities that were visibly different from higher-complexity hospitals.
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