Empowering Bystanders to Intervene: Trauma Responders Unify to Empower (TRUE) Communities

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Background: Timely and effective bystander first aid can improve outcomes for trauma victims. Bystanders are present at most traumas and are more likely to assist with prior training. Materials and methods: An evidence-based course was created for the general public in high-risk Chicago neighborhoods focused on basic traumatic first aid, including scene management, hemorrhage control, and mitigating the psychological impact of trauma to overcome the bystander effect. Prospectively, participants completed knowledge-based and self-efficacy assessments precourse, postcourse, and 6 mo follow-up. The change in self-efficacy and knowledge scores was analyzed. Results: Over 32 courses, 503 participants were taught; 474 and 460 participants completed precourse and postcourse surveys, respectively, whereas 60 of 327 who consented for follow-up completed the 6-mo survey. Postcourse, participants were more likely to assist trauma victims and felt more confident in the quality of care they could provide; the effect remained significant at 6 mo (all P < 0.001). All seven self-efficacy empowerment-based questions individually demonstrated improvement from precourse to postcourse (P < 0.001), with an overall mean (SD) increase of 2.8 (2.1, P < 0.001); six maintained significance at follow-up with an overall mean increase of 2.8 (1.9, P < 0.001). Knowledge scores improved from 6.2 of 10 to 7.2 postcourse and 7.7 at follow-up (P < 0.001). Most improved were the ability to render first aid and apply tourniquets. Conclusions: The TFRC increased self-efficacy, successfully teaching initial trauma care, particularly hemorrhage control and scene safety, suggesting that a grassroots approach to trauma care may improve outcomes in communities that experience high violence rates.




Tatebe, L., Speedy, S., Kang, D., Barnum, T., Cosey-Gay, F., Regan, S., … Swaroop, M. (2019). Empowering Bystanders to Intervene: Trauma Responders Unify to Empower (TRUE) Communities. Journal of Surgical Research, 238, 255–264. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2019.02.029

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