Meeting Newz Septeber / October 2022

Overview of problem New Zealand’s binge drinking culture continues to be a prevalent issue and a leading cause for the need of event medics at large scale events where alcohol is available. Excessive alcohol consumption dramatically increases the risk of adverse events occurring and while we hope participants will drink responsibly it is inevitably not the case for all. The outcome of which, if left unmitigated and unconsidered in the preparation by event organisers, could result in significant harm to attendees and event reputation. Experienced event medics can assess, treat and discharge low to moderate risk patients on-site, reducing the need for ambulance transport to hospital. What are the signs of excessive alcohol consumption? • Confusion, memory loss, slurring or unintelligible words • Severe nausea and vomiting • Severe dehydration • Very low body temperature • Slow breathing • Choking • Altered level of consciousness, difficult to rouse or unconscious • Seizures (usually when consumed with recreational drugs) First Aid – managing excessive alcohol consumption • Stay calm and reassure the patient. • Assist them to a safe zone away from the crowds if they remain conscious and can mobilise. Simon Barnett has 15 years’ experience as a frontline intensive care paramedic and is head of Event Health Services at St John By Simon Barnett First Aid Top Tips ~ excessive alcohol intake [ST J OHN COLUMN • Encourage water intake but be prepared for nausea and vomiting. • If they are cold, remove any wet or damp clothing and provide a warm environment with a blanket. • Request support from on-site event medics if they cannot mobilise, are difficult to rouse or are unconscious, and place them in the recovery position. Recommendations for event organisers • Invest in a high level of qualified medical staff, and a sufficient ratio of clinical cover to spectator numbers (eg >1 per 1000 is a good guideline for moderate-risk events). If medical staff are overwhelmed with complex patients, it is difficult to make good and safe clinical decisions. • Provide a safe zone with an agency that has robust vulnerable people policies, and ensure your medical provider also has a dedicated presence on top of primary medical cover. • Have sufficient security on-site and dedicate a number to medical response/ locations to support safety in the management of these patients with unpredictable behaviour. • Refer to the ‘Guidelines for patron welfare at large events’ document on the alcohol.org.nz website. If you would like to discuss an upcoming event, please feel free to reach out to the Event Health Services team at eventhealthservices@stjohn.org.nz [22] meeting newz [sept oct] 2022

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