How should ICU beds be allocated during a crisis? Evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic
The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed healthcare systems in many countries, and the rapid spread of the virus and the acute course of the disease resulted in a shortage of intensive care unit (ICU) beds. We studied preferences of the public in the Netherlands regarding the allocation of ICU beds during a health crisis. We distributed a cross-sectional online survey at the end of March 2020 to a representative sample of the adult population in the Netherlands. We collected preferences regarding the allocation of ICU beds, both in terms of who should be involved in the decision-making and which rationing criteria should be considered. We conducted Probit regression analyses to investigate associations between these preferences and several characteristics and opinions of the respondents. A total of 1,019 respondents returned a completed survey.