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  • Paramedic application of ultrasound in the management of patients in the prehospital setting: a review of the literature

    Brooke, Mike; Walton, Julie; Scutt, Diane (2010-07-28)
    Objectives Recently, attempts have been made to identify the utility of ultrasound in the management of patients in the prehospital setting. However, in the UK there is no directly relevant supporting evidence that prehospital ultrasound may reduce patient mortality and morbidity. The evidence available to inform this debate is almost entirely obtained from outside the UK, where emergency medical services (EMS) routinely use doctors as part of their model of service delivery. Using a structured review of the literature available, this paper examines the evidence to determine ‘Is there a place for paramedic ultrasound in the management of patients in the prehospital setting?’ Method A structured review of the literature to identify clinical trials which examined the use of ultrasound by non-physicians in the prehospital setting. Results Four resources were identified with sufficient methodological rigour to accurately inform the research question. Conclusion The theoretical concept that paramedic-initiated prehospital ultrasound may be of benefit in the management of critically ill patients is not without logical conceptual reason. Studies to date have demonstrated that with the right education and mentorship, some paramedic groups are able to obtain ultrasound images of sufficient quality to positively identify catastrophic pathologies found in critically ill patients. More research is required to demonstrate that these findings are transferable to the infrastructure of the UK EMS, and in what capacity they may be used to help facilitate optimal patient outcomes. https://emj.bmj.com/content/27/9/702. 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/emj.2010.094219
  • Implementation of a prealert to improve in-hospital treatment of anticoagulant-associated strokes: analysis of a prehospital pathway change in a large UK centralised acute stroke system

    Ashton, Christopher; Sammut-Powell, Camilla; Birleson, Emily; Mayoh, Duncan; Sperrin, Matthew; Parry-Jones, Adrian (2020-05-17)
    Intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) has the worst outcomes of all stroke subtypes, with a case fatality at 1 month of 30%–40% and only 20% regaining independence.1 Improving the implementation of existing evidence-based and guideline-recommended interventions may lead to improved outcomes.2 10%–20% of acute ICH occurs in patients taking oral anticoagulants and this is associated with a high risk of early haematoma expansion.3 4 Rapid treatment to normalise coagulation reduces this risk and may improve outcomes.4 5 The first critical step in achieving this is for suspected stroke patients on anticoagulants to undergo immediate brain imaging, allowing ICH to be identified quickly and anticoagulant reversal therapy initiated. Our regional centralised acute stroke system within Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire serves a population of 2.85 million and although suspected stroke patients collected by ambulance <48 hours post onset are transported to a hyperacute stroke unit (HASU), only those within 4 hours of onset are prealerted. We conducted a service evaluation to determine whether an additional prealert and emergency transport for suspected stroke on anticoagulants 4–48 hours post onset facilitated rapid imaging and hence reversal of anticoagulation after ICH on HASU arrival. A proposed prealert for anticoagulant-associated suspected strokes was agreed by the Greater Manchester Stroke Operational Delivery Network and introduced on 13 March 2018. The change in practice was disseminated by the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) to all prehospital clinicians. https://bmjopenquality.bmj.com/content/9/2/e000883. 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/bmjoq-2019-000883
  • The secrets of success

    First, Sue; McGregor, Erica (2006-12-01)
  • Stroke knowledge and awareness: an integrative review of the evidence

    Jones, Stephanie P.; Jenkinson, Amanda J.; Leathley, Michael J.; Watkins, Caroline L. (2010-01)
  • NWAS Library and Information Service

    Holland, Matt (2009-12-18)
    Matt Holland is Outreach Librarian in the North West Ambulance Service. Here he explains his unique role, and the steps involved in the development of a Library Information Service. Abstract published with permission.
  • Could mindfulness activity improve occupational health in UK paramedics?

    Forster, Christopher (2020-05-05)
    Emerging research is supporting the implementation of mindfulness-based strategies for NHS staff. It has been shown that, by spending 10 minutes daily on the activity, health professionals can improve their emotional and cognitive functioning, while reducing work-related rumination. Through an exploratory multi-methods approach, this study sets out to quantify the occupational health levels of paramedics, and establish their appreciation of both their employer's health and wellbeing policy and mindfulness as a concept, for the overall purpose of gaining a qualitative insight into whether mindfulness activity could improve occupational health. Paramedics reported high levels of occupational stress, coupled with minimal levels of knowledge or experience of mindfulness as a health-promoting concept. Structured application of mindfulness strategies within prehospital care may promote a range of health benefits for paramedics, lead to improved organisational efficiency for trusts and support positive outcomes for patients. Abstract published with permission.
  • COPD: an overview of prehospital care

    Scholes, Steven; Hedges, Nicola (2009-12-18)
    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. It is a debilitating airways disease which presents to the ambulance service with varying severity and is characterized by airflow obstruction which is usually progressive, not fully reversible and does not change markedly over several months. It may coexist with other comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease, making diagnosis of exacerbations difficult. COPD management in the prehospital environment is focused on effective recognition and the early application of pharmacological intervention to alleviate symptoms using current Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee Guidelines. Abstract published with permission.
  • The future of air ambulance services in trauma care

    Davies, Douglas (2009-12-18)
    This article explores the development of air ambulances from being vehicles for inter-hospital transfers to being the modern frontline resources for prehospital care. The service models currently utilised by the various air ambulance charities are explored, as is the influence each of these may have on the delivery of patient care. The organizational structure of air ambulance charities is addressed, as it also impacts upon service delivery and the governance of clinical practice. This area gives rise to an exploration of the potential for air ambulances to offer a unique platform for the development of the paramedic profession and an expanded scope of clinical practice. The article also explores the effect of wider changes within health care and how this impacts upon the services provided by air ambulances. Analysis of potential future developments based upon a number of factors is made and conclusions drawn with regard to both current and future practice development. Abstract published with permission.
  • Joint Royal College Ambulance Liaison Committee Airway Working Group commentary

    Jackson, Mike (2010-03)
    The publication of the paper by the Joint Royal College Ambulance Liaison Committee Airway Working Group (JRCALC AWG) will no doubt start a fierce debate among the paramedic and medical professions about prehospital intubation. Prehospital intubation performed by paramedics is a profession-defining skill, has been practised by paramedics in the UK for over 20 years, and has been a mainstay of prehospital airway management. In a survey of paramedics in the USA, prehospital intubation was ranked as a more important skill than defibrillation and patient assessment.1 Most of the literature reviewed by the JRCALC AWG was from the USA and included studies of drug-assisted intubation. Wang and associates2 examined 592 attempts at intubation in one year and found 536 of these to be successful (90.5%); another study of 264 paediatric prehospital intubations reported a much higher success rate of 99%,3 Bulger and colleagues4 in Seattle reported a success rate of 98.4% and in Bellingham, Washington, Wayne and Friedland5 reported a 95.5% success rate. It must be said that there are significant differences in the training and education of paramedics between the USA and the UK. The national standard curriculum for emergency medical technicians in the USA6 states that paramedics require only five successful intubations before graduation, whereas in the UK until recently paramedics needed to achieve 25 successful intubations. It is recognised that achieving intubation of the trachea does not necessarily mean the individual is proficient or competent in the skill of intubation. However, it must also be noted that achieving 25 intubations provides the paramedic with a higher degree of proficiency and competency than those achieving five. Limited capacity in the clinical placement circuit and the increased use of supraglottic devices for anaesthetic procedures in hospital means that paramedics are having difficulty in achieving the target of 25; as a result the accreditation bodies no longer demand that the 25 target is met, although there is still a need to learn the skill. In the future it is likely that training opportunities will be even more difficult to secure, and so the profession now finds itself at a crossroads. We need to look at what is right and what is safe for the patient, and importantly what is achievable by the profession. This will mean looking for alternative ways of achieving competence, for example, human simulation laboratories or looking at alternative airways. Recent evidence suggests that increasing the intubation experience of paramedics leads to better prehospital outcomes.7 Further evidence suggests there is no difference between experienced paramedics and doctors in performing successful intubation in prehospital cardiac arrest.8 Therefore, rather than removing the skill of intubation for all paramedics the focus should be on ensuring a proportion, for example, those in senior or advanced roles, are given the opportunity to acquire the necessary experience. If we adopt this approach the more exposure these clinicians will have the more proficient they will become, and this will result in improved outcomes. The JRCALC AWG has recognised this as a possible solution to the current problem. Ambulance services would be able to structure their response model to reflect this clinical provision and use these senior clinicians appropriately, not only to provide the expertise but also to supervise and lead on patient care at critical incidents. By using these senior clinicians the impact upon operational performance and resources will be minimised. With the training and revalidation problems we face the time is right for newly qualified paramedics and existing ones unable to maintain their intubation skills to adopt an alternative to intubation. Supraglottic airway devices are an alternative to intubation, but the suggestion by the JRCALC AWG that we should simply replace prehospital intubation by paramedics with supraglottic devices needs to be debated and researched. There is little evidence to support the effectiveness of supraglottic devices in prehospital non-fasted patients. Research to date has focussed primarily on the use of these devices in hospitals. We have no evidence to suggest that these devices are safe outside of hospitals; thus we need further research about their effectiveness. It is a gold standard in trauma that drug-assisted intubation is the best way to intubate the patient, and it is accepted that this should only be done by skilled operatives who perform the procedure regularly. However, although the JRCALC AWG agrees there is little evidence that prehospital intubation without anaesthetic drugs improves patient outcomes, there is also little evidence (especially from the UK) that prehospital intubation in patients in cardiac arrest is harmful. There are many examples in medicine in which treatment is given when it has not been proved to be effective, but the treatment continues as there is no evidence it is harmful. As there is no UK evidence that prehospital intubation by paramedics is harmful, the profession needs to continue this practice for patients in cardiac arrest—but with the skill performed by experienced senior and advanced paramedics working in a robust governance framework to ensure revalidation and maintenance of these skills. In the meantime, we need to explore the use of alternative devices including supraglottic devices, to decide if they are safe as an alternative to prehospital intubation especially for cardiac arrest, and to see if they will improve patient outcomes., https://emj.bmj.com/content/27/3/171.long. 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/emj.2009.090381
  • Paramedic application of ultrasound in the management of patients in the prehospital setting: a review of the literature

    Brooke, Mike; Walton, Julie; Scutt, Diane (2010-07-28)
    ABSTRACT Objectives Recently, attempts have been made to identify the utility of ultrasound in the management of patients in the prehospital setting. However, in the UK there is no directly relevant supporting evidence that prehospital ultrasound may reduce patient mortality and morbidity. The evidence available to inform this debate is almost entirely obtained from outside the UK, where emergency medical services (EMS) routinely use doctors as part of their model of service delivery. Using a structured review of the literature available, this paper examines the evidence to determine ‘Is there a place for paramedic ultrasound in the management of patients in the prehospital setting?’ Method A structured review of the literature to identify clinical trials which examined the use of ultrasound by non-physicians in the prehospital setting. Results Four resources were identified with sufficient methodological rigour to accurately inform the research question. Conclusion The theoretical concept that paramedicinitiated prehospital ultrasound may be of benefit in the management of critically ill patients is not without logical conceptual reason. Studies to date have demonstrated that with the right education and mentorship, some paramedic groups are able to obtain ultrasound images of sufficient quality to positively identify catastrophic pathologies found in critically ill patients. More research is required to demonstrate that these findings are transferable to the infrastructure of the UK EMS, and in what capacity they may be used to help facilitate optimal patient outcomes. https://emj.bmj.com/content/27/9/702.long 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: 10.1136/bmj.h535
  • Managing neck breathing patients in the prehospital setting: review of best practice

    Brooke, Mike; Brown, Andrea (2010-11)
    An increasing number of patients with long-term tracheostomies or laryngectomies are being managed in the community. However, recent evidence suggests that many clinicians from both the hospital and prehospital setting lack sufficient skills and knowledge to safely manage them in emergency situations. This article describes the anatomical and pathophysiological variations that may be encountered in tracheostomy and laryngectomy patients, and relates them to the adaptations that may be required when managing this group of patients in the prehospital setting. Abstract published with permission.
  • Enhancing mental health resilience and anticipating treatment provisions of mental health conditions for frontline Healthcare workers involved in caring for patients during the COVID-19 Pandemic - A call for action

    Kullu, Cecil; Coley, Andrew; Cooper, Cary; Aitken, John; Cummings, Jane; Gerada, Clare; Grant, Chris; Rafferty, Joe; Kumar, Raj; Gizzi, Denis; et al. (2020)
  • PRe-hospital Evaluation of Sensitive TrOponin (PRESTO) Study: multicentre prospective diagnostic accuracy study protocol

    Alghamdi, Abdulrhman; Cook, Eloïse; Carlton, Edward; Siriwardena, Aloysius; Hann, Mark; Thompson, Alexander; Foulkes, Angela; Phillips, John; Cooper, Jamie; Steve, Bell; et al. (2019-10-07)
    Introduction Within the UK, chest pain is one of the most common reasons for emergency (999) ambulance calls and the most common reason for emergency hospital admission. Diagnosing acute coronary syndromes (ACS) in a patient with chest pain in the prehospital setting by a paramedic is challenging. The Troponin-only Manchester Acute Coronary Syndromes (T-MACS) decision rule is a validated tool used in the emergency department (ED) to stratify patients with suspected ACS following a single blood test. We are seeking to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of the T-MACS decision aid algorithm to ‘rule out’ ACS when used in the prehospital environment with point-of-care troponin assays. If successful, this could allow paramedics to immediately rule out ACS for patients in the ‘very low risk’ group and avoid the need for transport to the ED, while also risk stratifying other patients using a single blood sample taken in the prehospital setting. Methods and analysis We will recruit patients who call emergency (999) ambulance services where the responding paramedic suspects cardiac chest pain. The data required to apply T-MACS will be prospectively recorded by paramedics who are responding to each patient. Paramedics will be required to draw a venous blood sample at the time of arrival to the patient. Blood samples will later be tested in batches for cardiac troponin, using commercially available troponin assays. The primary outcome will be a diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction, established at the time of initial hospital admission. The secondary outcomes will include any major adverse cardiac events within 30 days of enrolment. Ethics and dissemination The study obtained approval from the National Research Ethics Service (reference: 18/ES/0101) and the Health Research Authority. We will publish our findings in a high impact general medical journal.Abstract, URL 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: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-032834
  • Potential applications of capnography in the prehospital setting

    Percival, David (2012-01)
    Abstract published with permission. End-tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2) monitoring is well established in hospital theatre and critical care settings (Lah and Grmec, 2010), employed for observation and monitoring in anaesthesia. Its application has now extended to the prehospital environment, primarily for the verification of endotracheal tube (ETT) placement, endeavouring to reduce the occurrence of oesophageal intubations (Grmec and Malley, 2004). In recent times, technological advances, coupled with an increased appreciation of the importance of prehospital interventions, has resulted in the production of additional equipment capable of monitoring ETCO2 in non-intubated, self-ventilating patients via a non-invasive nasal cannula. Despite having an extensive range of potential uses, the apparatus is widely underused (Langhan and Chen, 2008). In this article, potential applications in the prehospital setting will be discussed via a review of contemporary literature.
  • From trade to profession-the professionalisation of the paramedic workforce

    First, Sue; Tomlins, Lucy; Swinburn, Andy (2012-07)
    Abstract published with permission. How do we achieve professionalisation of the paramedic? The Trait theory identifies professions as having 1. An exclusive body of knowledge 2. Self regulation and 3. Registration. Becoming a profession leads to improved remuneration and greater respect and knowledge, but this does not lead to a change in personal conduct. Professionalism however, is connected to behaviour, attitudes, accountability and responsibility. The behavioural changes and attitudes required of a ‘professional’ are brought about through the combination of higher education and clinical leadership. Academic input integrates clinical leadership with the career structure and all staff at all levels. Clinical leaders are at the coal face, accessible during and after the event, for training and clinical supervision and are therefore transforming practice at every level. However, clinical leadership is ineffective with an uneducated workforce and an uneducated workforce is ineffective without clinical leadership, the two go hand in hand So... What is the way forward for the ambulance service? What are paramedics doing to develop and maintain the profession and professional behaviours?

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