20 October, 2016

Health service impact from mass-gatherings: A systematic literature review


Background: Mass gatherings are events where a large number of people congregate for a common purpose, such as sporting events, agricultural shows and music festivals. When definitive care is required for participants of mass gatherings, municipal ambulance services provide assessment, treatment and transport of participants to acute care settings, such as hospitals. The impact on both ambulance services and emergency department services from mass-gathering events was the focus of this literature review.

Aim: This literature review aims to develop an understanding of the impact of mass gatherings on local health services.

Method: This research used a systematic literature review methodology. Databases were searched to find articles related to aim of the review. Articles focused on mass-gathering health, provision of in-event health services, ambulance service transportation and hospital utilisation.

Results: Twenty-four studies were identified for inclusion in this review. These studies were all case-study based and retrospective in design. The majority of studies (n=23) provided details of in-event first responder services. There was variation in reporting of the number and type of in-event health professional services at mass-gatherings. All articles reported that patients were transported to hospital by the ambulance service. Only nine articles reported on patients presenting to hospital.

Conclusions: There is minimal research focusing on the impact of mass-gatherings on in-event and external health services, such as ambulance services and hospitals. A recommendation for future mass-gathering research and evaluation is to link patient-level data from in-event mass-gatherings to external health services. This type of study design would provide information regarding the impact on health services from a mass-gathering, to more accurately inform future health planning for mass-gatherings across the health care continuum.

Ranse J, Hutton A, Keene T, Lenson S, Luther M, Bost N, Johnston A, Crilly J, Cannon M, Jones N, Hayes C, Burke B. (2016) Health service impact from mass-gatherings: A systematic literature review; paper presented at the 14th International Conference for Emergency Nurses. Alice Springs, Australia. 20th October.


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