Senior Scholars Program

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Emergency Medicine

Faculty Mentor

Mark Bisanzo

Publication Date


Document Type



Emergency Medicine | Health Services Administration


Introduction: Improper management of and resultant poor outcomes from upper extremity injuries can be economically devastating to patients who rely on manual labour for survival. This is a pilot study using the Quick DASH Survey (disabilities of arm, shoulder and hand), a validated outcome measurement tool. Our objective was to assess functional outcomes of patients with acute upper extremity injuries who were cared for by non-physician clinicians as part of a task-shifting programme.

Methods: This pilot study was performed at the Karoli Lwanga Hospital Emergency Centre (EC) in Uganda. Patients were identified retrospectively by querying the EC quality assurance database. An initial list of all patients who sustained traumatic injury (road traffic accident, assault) between March 2012 and February 2013 was narrowed to patients with upper extremity trauma, those 18 years and older, and those with cellular phone access. This subset of patients was called and administered the Quick DASH. The results were subsequently analysed using the standardised DASH metrics. These outcome measures were further analysed based upon injury type (simple laceration, complex laceration, fracture and subluxation).

Results: There were a total of 25 initial candidates, of which only 17 were able to complete the survey. Using the Quick DASH Outcome Measure, our 17 patients had a mean score of 28.86 (range 5.0–56.8).

Conclusions: When compared to the standardised Quick DASH outcomes (no work limitation at 27.5 vs. work limited by injury at 52.6) the non-physician clinicians appear to be performing upper extremity repairs with good outcomes. The key variable to successful repair was the initial injury type. Although accommodations needed to be made to the standard Quick DASH protocol, the tool appears to be usable in non-traditional settings.


Task-shifting, Emergency medicine, Outcome assessment survey, Quick DASH, Africa, Uganda

Rights and Permissions

Open Access funded by African Federation for Emergency Medicine.

DOI of Published Version



Frank DS et al. Upper extremity injury management by non-physician emergency practitioners in rural Uganda: A pilot study, Afr J Emerg Med (2014),

Journal/Book/Conference Title

African Journal of Emergency Medicine


Medical student Daniel Frank participated in this study as part of the Senior Scholars research program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.