Preparedness and response to Pediatric CoVID-19 in European Emergency Departments: a survey of the REPEM and PERUKI networks.

Study objective: We aimed to describe the variability and identify gaps in preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic in European EDs caring for children. Methods: A cross-sectional point prevalence survey, was developed and disseminated through the pediatric emergency medicine research networks for Europe (REPEM) and the United Kingdom and Ireland (PERUKI). We aimed to include ten EDs for countries with > 20 million inhabitants and five EDs for less populated countries, unless the number of eligible EDs was below five. ED directors or their delegates completed the survey between March 20th and 21st to report practice at that time. We used descriptive statistics to analyse data. Results: Overall 102 centers from 18 countries (86% response rate) completed the survey: 34% did not have an ED contingency plan for pandemics and 36% had never had simulations for such events. Wide variation on PPE items was shown for recommended PPE use at pre-triage and for patient assessment, with 62% of centers experiencing shortage in one or more PPE items, most frequently FFP2/N95 masks. Only 17% of EDs had negative pressure isolation rooms. COVID-19 positive ED staff was reported in 25% of centers. Conclusion: We found variation and identified gaps in preparedness and response to the COVID-19 epidemic across European referral EDs for children. A lack in early availability of a documented contingency plan, provision of simulation training, appropriate use of PPE, and appropriate isolation facilities emerged as gaps that should be optimized to improve preparedness and inform responses to future pandemics.