Refusals After Prehospital Administration of Naloxone during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Melody J. Glenn, Amber D. Rice, Keith Primeau, Adrienne Hollen, Isrealia Jado, Philipp Hannan, Sharon McDonough, Brittany Arcaris, Daniel W. Spaite, Joshua B. Gaither

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To determine if COVID-19 was associated with a change in patient refusals after Emergency Medical Services (EMS) administration of naloxone. Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study in which the incidence of refusals after naloxone administration in a single EMS system was evaluated. The number of refusals after naloxone administration was compared across the before-pandemic interval (01/01/20 to 02/15/20) and the during-pandemic interval (03/16/20 to 04/30/20). For comparison the incidence of all other patient refusals before and during COVID-19 as well as the incidences of naloxone administration before and during COVID-19 were also reported. Results: Prior to the widespread knowledge of the COVID-19 pandemic, 24 of 164 (14.6%) patients who received naloxone via EMS refused transport. During the pandemic, 55 of 153 (35.9%) patients who received naloxone via EMS refused transport. Subjects receiving naloxone during the COVID-19 pandemic were at greater risk of refusal of transport than those receiving naloxone prior to the pandemic (RR = 2.45; 95% CI 1.6-3.76). Among those who did not receive naloxone, 2067 of 6956 (29.7%) patients were not transported prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and 2483 of 6016 (41.3%) were not transported during the pandemic. Subjects who did not receive naloxone with EMS were at greater risk of refusal of transport during the COVID-19 pandemic than prior to it (RR = 1.39; 95% CI 1.32-1.46). Conclusion: In this single EMS system, more than a two-fold increase in the rate of refusal after non-fatal opioid overdose was observed following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-54
Number of pages9
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • naloxone
  • opioid use disorder
  • refusals
  • treat and refer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency

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