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amber contains records of published research authored by staff working in NHS ambulance services in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. amber is managed by the Library and Knowledge Services for NHS Ambulance Services in England [LKS ASE]. For more information see the About pages or contact LKS ASE. If you have any further questions about amber or our data please eMail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Care pathways for low-risk transient ischaemic attackBackground: In secondary care, the urgency of review for transient ischaemic attack (TIA) has relied upon the use of the ABCD2 score, but this tool is not validated for use by emergency ambulance crews. There is a need to evaluate alternative care pathways for patients who might be eligible for direct referral to TIA clinics without prior conveyance to the emergency department (ED). Aim: The aim of this national survey was to describe current service provision across the UK for pre-hospital emergency care of patients with TIA. Methods: The authors approached all UK Ambulance trusts (n=13) by email, asking them to provide details of TIA patient referral pathways. Findings: Twelve ambulance services responded to the survey and nine reported that they had no current pathway; one had discontinued a pathway because of service reconfiguration; and three were currently using one. All pathways used the ABCD2 tool to screen patients and classified patients as low-risk if the ABCD2 score was 3 or below. Non-conveyance exclusion criteria varied. Although compliance with referral pathways was audited in an initial pilot in one service, no other evaluations of the effectiveness of pathways were reported. Conclusion: A minority of UK ambulance services report introducing referral pathways for low-risk TIA patients, avoiding initial assessment in the ED. Safety, effectiveness and acceptability of such pathways have not been evaluated to date. Abstract published with permission
Paramedic trail blazers - why do paramedics take part in prehospital research?Background Research to improve prehospital treatment and care requires the participation of clinical and managerial staff from ambulance services to test interventions and collect research data. Researchers work closely with individuals and organisations with prehospital clinical, managerial and policy expertise to plan, deliver and disseminate research evidence. A recent trial involved assessing feasibility of paramedics administering Fascia Iliaca Compartment Block (FICB) in place of morphine to patients with suspected hip fracture. Participation in the trial was voluntary. We explored paramedics' motivation for participating in research through the RAPID (Rapid Analgesia for Prehospital Hip Disruption) trial. Methods We held three focus groups with 11 RAPID trial paramedics serving one district hospital, audio-recorded with participants' consent. We conducted thematic analysis of interview transcripts. Two researchers, one paramedic and one lay member were in the analysis team. Results Paramedics believed their participation in research had benefits for patients, for them individually and for the paramedic profession. Respondents said that being part of a research project provided an opportunity to increase their skills and provide improved patient care. In the RAPID trial, they understood the potential risks and benefits of different medications and management for patients with suspected hip fracture and welcomed the chance to identify improved pain management for a vulnerable population. They felt proud to be learning and using a procedure usually administered by clinical staff: 'This is quite specialised, like, hang on, I'm doing a really top job here, dealing with anaesthetics.blunt needles. it's like 'up there'. It's not our everyday thing.' More generally, respondents identified how research potentially contributed towards widening the scope of paramedic practice by extending their role into clinically specialist areas. They suggested that many paramedics were unwilling to undertake tasks perceived to exceed their pay-grades and shunned the opportunity to learn new techniques which were not routine care. In comparison, these paramedics saw themselves as trail-blazers for the profession, proud to be acquiring extra clinical responsibilities and skills. They also valued the chance to contribute to the evidence base, providing knowledge about using alternative medication which they instinctively felt would cause fewer complications and benefit patient mortality and morbidity. Conclusion Paramedics who take part in research believe they contribute to personal and professional development and potentially improve patient care. Future research with paramedics refusing research participation could explore barriers and different views on skills development, which may also inform implementation of new evidence-based interventions https://jech.bmj.com/content/72/Suppl_1/A76.1 This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Transferring patients with palliative care needs - which ambulance service should you use?Background Transferring patients with palliative care needs between care settings via the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) is a daily component of delivering palliative care. We hypothesised that patients would have quicker and more appropriate ambulance transfers if healthcare professionals working in palliative care had a better knowledge of the ambulance services available; including the pilot of the new End-of-Life Rapid Transport Service. Method We sent an electronic questionnaire to 236 healthcare professionals working in palliative care in Wales. We tested the respondent's knowledge of the available services provided by WAST and asked respondents to share their experiences of transferring patients via the ambulance service. Results We had 52 responses to the questionnaire (response rate 22%). Respondents were predominantly palliative medicine consultants, registrars and clinical nurse specialists. There was a lack of knowledge about the WAST's ability to transfer patients with syringe drivers and the services ability to make decisions regarding not commencing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. The Urgent Care Service was not well understood and only 12% of respondents could easily find the correct contact details for each service. We created and publicised an aide-memoire (attached) about the different ambulance services available in Wales. It contains information tailored to palliative care health care professionals. The aide memoire is designed to be easily accessible in paper and electronic format. Conclusion Palliative care healthcare professionals lack sufficient knowledge of the ambulance services available in Wales. The aide memoire we created contains the relevant information that is necessary to make the best use of the ambulance services available. The aide memoire is being used across Wales to improve the use of the ambulance service for patients with palliative care needs. https://spcare.bmj.com/content/8/Suppl_1/A63.1 This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Use of scratchcards for allocation concealment in a prehospital randomised controlled trialBackground: Rapid Analgesia for Prehospital Hip Disruption was a small study designed to determine the feasibility of undertaking a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to test the clinical and cost-effectiveness of paramedics administering Fascia Iliaca Compartment Block as early prehospital pain relief to patients with a fractured hip. The objective was to devise a simple and effective method of random allocation concealment suitable for use by paramedics while in the emergency prehospital setting.Methods: Scratchcards were produced using scratch-off silver stickers which concealed the trial arm allocation. Paramedics were each allocated a unique range of consecutive numbers, used as both the scratchcard number and the patient's study ID. The cards were designed to allow the paramedic to write on the incident number, date and signature. A small envelope holding the cards was prepared for each paramedic. The study took place between 28 June 2016 and 31 July 2017 in the Swansea area.Results: Nineteen trial paramedics used 71 scratchcards throughout the study and reported no problems randomly allocating patients using the scratchcards. Five protocol deviations were reported in relation to scratchcard use. On auditing the scratchcards, all unused cards were located, and no evidence of tampering with the silver panel was found.Conclusion: Paramedics can use scratchcards as a method of randomly allocating patients in trials in prehospital care. In the future, a method that allows only the top card to be selected and a more protective method of storing the cards should be used. Scratchcards can be considered for wider use in RCTs in the emergency prehospital setting.Trial Registration Number: ISRCTN60065373; Post-results https://emj.bmj.com/content/35/11/708 This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/openhrt-2015-000281