Prioritization of new topics for first aid-related Cochrane reviews

Our register of Cochrane reviews are relevant to the field of first aid mainly includes reviews that do not specifically target laypeople as providers of healthcare interventions, but that investigate interventions that are feasible to be performed in a lay setting. With our prioritization exercise process, we aimed to generate a list of five priority topics for new Cochrane reviews, that are of interest to our stakeholders (including lay first aid providers and first aid guideline developers). 

In a first step, we composed a list of topics, based on a survey of the Global First Aid Reference Centre (GFARC) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), a priority exercise of the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) and a gap analysis of the Belgian Red Cross. A total of 14 first aid-related topics were identified. This list consisted of topics for which we thought it was appropriate, relevant and necessary to systematically gather the available studies and synthesize their findings in order to substantiate first aid recommendations.

In a second step, we created a survey to have these topics scored on their priority, based on the needs and the sense of urgency as defined by a broad group of stakeholders. We posted this survey on our social media channels, sent it to first aid volunteers of the Belgian Red Cross and asked for input through Cochrane communication channels. With this information, we were be able to rank the topics and will communicate this to the relevant Cochrane Review Groups.

In the survey, we asked to score the urgency of each topic from 1 to 10, with 1 being not urgent at all, and 10 being very urgent. A total of 62 people completed the survey. We calculated the average and median of the scores, in order to rank the topics based on the scores. Based on these results, the top 5 of most urgent topics are:

  1. What is the effectiveness of first aid education?
  2. Which warming techniques are effective for hypothermia?
  3. What is the best body position for a person with a myocardial infarction?
  4. What is the optimal body position for persons with a stroke?
  5. Which system is most effective for triage at incidents with multiple casualties?