Recent Submissions

  • Experiences and views of people who frequently call emergency ambulance services: a qualitative study of UK service users

    Evans, Bridie; Khanom, Ashra; Edwards, Bethan; Foster, Theresa; Fothergill, Rachael; Gripper, Penny; Porter, Alison; Scott, Jason; Watkins, Alan; Edwards, Adrian; et al. (2023-08-09)
  • Impact of paramedics carrying just-in-case end-of-life care medication

    O'Brian, Edward; Chohan, Andeep; Sewell, Bernadette; Pease, Nikki (2023-11-02)
    Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, it was predicted that frail community patients with symptoms of severe COVID-19 infection may need urgent symptom management—and that unless they had already been identified as being in their last weeks of life, they would be unlikely to have just-in-case (JIC) medications at home. The Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust therefore placed JIC medications on emergency ambulances to increase symptom management options for paramedics treating patients with symptoms of severe COVID-19 infection and/or associated with advanced end-stage illness. Abstract published with permission.
  • Case management of people who call 999 frequently – qualitative study of the perspective of people providing and receiving care (STRETCHED)

    Snooks, Helen; Khanom, Ashra; Cole, Robert; Edwards, Adrian; Evans, Bridie; Foster, Theresa; Gripper, Penny; Hampton, Chelsey; John, Ann; Petterson, Robin; et al.
  • Drug routes in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: a summary of current evidence

    Hooper, Amy; Nolan, Jerry; Rees, Nigel; Walker, Alison; Perkins, Gavin; Couper, Keith (Elsevier, 2022-12)
  • Paramedics and serious illness: communication training

    Pease, Nikki J; Sundararaj, Jenifer J.; O'Brian, Edward; Hayes, Joanne; Presswood, Edward; Buxton, Samantha (2022-07)
    Abstract Objectives The need to empower Ambulance Service staff at the point of delivery of end of life care (EoLC) is crucial. We describe the delivery, outcomes and potential impact of the Serious Illness Conversation project delivered to Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) staff. Over an 18-month period, 368 WAST staff attended face-to-face teaching, which included serious illness conversation communication skills, symptom control and ‘shared decision making’. Method Data collected from WAST staff were used to gain insight on perception of their role and challenges within the context of EoLC, understand the impact of teaching on self-confidence and identify impact on the wider service. A mixed methods approach was used for data analysis. Results WAST staff view themselves in several important roles, acting as ‘facilitators’ to patient-centred, seamless care, providing support, liaison between services and practical help in patient care at the end of life. The difficult questions and situations pertaining to EoLC were related to discussions on death and dying and managing expectation. The predominant barriers identified related to communication. Quantitative outcomes on the six communication domains indicate statistically significant improvement in self-assessed confidence. The overall impact to the wider ambulance service suggests a trend towards better use of resources. Conclusion The perceived roles and challenges identified by paramedics can help in customising training objectives. The initial outcomes from the ongoing project with WAST demonstrate increased confidence in handling communication issues. Initial successive surveys suggest teaching is making a real life impact on patient care at end of life. https://spcare.bmj.com/content/12/e2/e248 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
  • Paramedics' experiences of administering fascia iliaca compartment block to patients in South Wales with suspected hip fracture at the scene of injury: results of focus groups

    Evans, Bridie; Brown, Alan; Bulger, Jenna; Fegan, Greg; Ford, Simon; Guy, Katy; Jones, Sian; Keen, Leigh; Khanom, Ashrafunnesa; Longo, Mirella; et al. (2019-02-15)
    Objectives To explore paramedics’ experience of delivering fascia iliaca compartment block (FICB) to patients with suspected hip fracture at the scene of injury. Design Focus groups within a randomised controlled trial. Setting Paramedics based at ambulance stations in the catchment area of one Emergency Department in South Wales, recruited and trained in a feasibility study about an alternative to routine prehospital pain management for patients with suspected hip fracture. Participants 11 paramedics. Intervention Paramedic-administered FICB to patients with suspected hip fracture. We randomly allocated eligible patients to FICB, a local anaesthetic injection directly into the hip region—or usual care, most commonly morphine - using audited scratch cards. Outcomes Paramedics’ experiences of administering FICB gathered through thematic analysis of interview transcripts by two researchers, one paramedic and one lay member. Results Respondents believed that FICB was a suitable intervention for paramedics to deliver. It aligned with routine practice and was within people’s capabilities. They said it took up to 10 minutes longer than usual care to prepare and deliver, in part due to nervousness and unfamiliarity with a new procedure. They praised the training provided but said they were anxious about causing harm by injecting into the wrong location. Confidence increased after one paramedic team successfully treated a patient for local anaesthetic toxicity. Reported challenges related to the emergency context: patients often waited many hours for ambulance arrival; moving patients exacerbated their pain; family and neighbours were present as paramedics administered treatment. Conclusions Paramedics are willing and able to administer FICB to patients with suspected hip fracture before ambulance transport to hospital. Feasibility study findings will inform further research. Trial registration number ISRCTN60065373; Pre results. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/2/e026073 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
  • Developing and nurturing a community practice clinical network for community children’s nurses in Wales

    Dunlop, Sue; Maunder, Eryl Z. (2019-06-27)
    Working as a children's community nurse (CCN), especially in remote and rural locations, can evoke feelings of professional isolation. Humans are by nature ‘social animals’ and the consequences of feeling isolated, and coping with distances, adverse weather and risky situations, could mean that nurses choose to work instead in more familiar and comfortable environments. This can affect retention issues and increase the risk of CCNs experiencing stress, burnout and illness-related absenteeism. The children they care for often have complex needs and parents want their CCN to be ‘on the ball’; they will feel concerned and frustrated if the CCN team lets them down. Two academics were approached by CCNs in Wales seeking ways of overcoming isolation. It was decided that the best course of action was to develop a community of practice clinical network for band 5 and 6 CCNs working in Wales, with the aim of supporting staff, sharing best practice, and promoting safe and quality-driven care. Alternating the networks among health boards, whereby the nurses decided the agenda, booked the venue, invited guest speakers, led the meeting and wrote up the minutes, was an excellent way to achieve the designated aim: reducing professional isolation. A range of clinically focused topics were discussed and debated, and the first six meetings were so effective in meeting the aim of the network that each health board is starting the cycle of hosting the network again. Abstract published with permission.
  • ‘I can’t remember’ – patients views of receiving pain management from paramedics for suspected hip fracture

    Evans, Bridie; Brown, Alan; Bulger, Jenna; Fegan, Greg; Ford, Simon; Guy, Katy; Jones, Sian; Keen, Leigh; Khanom, Ashrafunnesa; Pallister, Ian; et al. (2019-01-14)
    Background Up to 40% of patients with suspected hip fracture report inadequate or no pre-hospital pain management. Morphine may raise risk of complications and may be avoided by paramedics. Fascia Iliaca Compartment Block (FICB) is used in Emergency Department and orthopaedic wards. The RAPID trial tested feasibility of paramedics administering FICB to patients with suspected hip fracture. Objective To explore patients’ views and experience of care received for suspected hip fracture and in particular FICB before ambulance transport to hospital. Method We interviewed six patients and the daughter of a patient who received FICB to manage their suspected hip fracture. Interviews, by telephone or face-to-face, were audio-recorded with consent. We conducted thematic analysis of transcripts. Two researchers, one paramedic and one lay member were in the analysis team Results Respondents’ memory of prehospital care was dominated by their experience of extreme pain. While they recalled events before falling, they only had partial memory of care prior to hip surgery. Although they recalled paramedics’ arrival, which they reported was up to six hours after their injury, respondents said they remembered little else. Just one recalled consenting to receiving FICB and could describe the process. Other respondents said they were in too much pain to comprehend what occurred or respond coherently. They explained their priority was to receive pain management and they expected the paramedics to treat them safely and effectively. Respondents appeared to be a stoical and trusting group who accepted the treatment they were offered. They did recall high quality of care and praised paramedics for their reassuring and calm manner. Conclusions Hip fracture patients’ overwhelming memory of injury and treatment was of pain and their priority was to receive pain relief. The quality of care, reassurance and administration of pain management was more important to patients than the mechanism of delivering the intervention. https://emj.bmj.com/content/36/1/e12.1 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/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/openhrt-2015-000281
  • Implementation of electronic patient clinical records in ambulances in the UK: a national survey

    Williams, Victoria; LaFlamme-Williams, Yvette; McNee, Katie; Morgan, Heather; Morrison, Zoe; Potts, Henry; Shaw, Debbie; Siriwardena, Niro; Snook, Helen; Spaight, Rob; et al. (2019-01-14)
    Background The roll-out of electronic Patient Clinical Records (ePCR) across UK ambulance services has been an important aspect of modernisation. Electronic Records in Ambulances (ERA) is a two-year study which aims to describe the opportunities and challenges of implementing ePCR and associated technology in emergency ambulances. Our study includes a baseline survey of progress implementing ePCR in all UK ambulance services providing a snapshot of current usage. Methods We carried out semi-structured telephone interviews with information managers in each ambulance service in the UK. We asked them about the systems in use, the process and current stage of implementation and explored the perceived value of using ePCR. If services did not use ePCR we asked about plans for future introduction. The interviews were transcribed and thematically analysed, by three members of the research team. Results We completed interviews with 22 managers from 13 services. Implementation varied across the UK. Seven services were using electronic records. Four services had adopted electronic records but, at the time of interview, had reverted to paper with the intention of implementing a new ePCR. Two services still used paper but hoped to move to ePCR in the future. Those who had fully implemented ePCR reported mixed success in terms of staff compliance, and in realising the potential benefits offered by ePCR to link with primary and secondary care. Reported benefits of ePCR were largely associated with improved data management for audit and record keeping. Potential improvements to patient care were discussed, but tended to be associated with future planned developments. Implications Implementation of ePCR has proved challenging with wide variation in use between ambulance services. Progress has been erratic, rather than linear, demonstrated by difficulties that services experienced putting ePCR into practice. There is potential for ambulance services in the earlier stages of implementation to learn from the experiences of others. https://emj.bmj.com/content/36/1/e7.3 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
  • Decision making for patients categorised as 'amber' in a rural setting

    Ingram, Catherine; Rees, Nigel; Sujan, Mark (2019-06)
    Background: Reducing unnecessary conveyances to hospital can help relieve pressure on emergency departments. Making decisions about conveyance in rural areas is particularly challenging because of the travel distances involved. Aims: To explore perceptions of paramedics in a rural setting about how they make decisions regarding conveyance and non-conveyance for patients categorised as ‘amber’ (serious but not life-threatening). Methods: Data were collected through interviews with 17 paramedics working in rural areas, which were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Findings: Paramedics perceive hospitals as places of safety for themselves (psychological safety) and for patients (patient safety). Lower levels of psychological safety (e.g. because of an organisational blame culture) and perceived increased risks to patient safety (e.g. because of a lack of health resources in the community) influence paramedic decision making on conveying patients to hospital. Conclusion: Current practice contributes to increasing pressures on emergency departments. Ambulance services should work towards a non-punitive culture of safety where paramedics feel they can make decisions based on their experience and expertise rather than to protect themselves. Abstract published with permission.
  • Transient ischaemic attack pre-hospital referral feasibility trial (TIER): recruitment and intervention usage

    Hampton, Chelsey; Jones, Charlene (2019-03-01)
    Aims: Early specialist assessment of transient ischaemic attack (TIA) can reduce the risk of stroke and death. This study assessed the feasibility of undertaking a multi-centre randomised trial to evaluate clinical and cost effectiveness of referral of patients attended by emergency ambulance paramedics with low-risk TIA directly to specialist TIA clinics for early review. Methods: We developed a protocol and referral pathway for paramedics to assess and refer patients directly to a TIA clinic, and administer aspirin. We randomly allocated volunteer paramedics to intervention or control groups. Intervention paramedics were trained to deliver the intervention during the patient recruitment period. Control paramedics continued to deliver care as usual. Patients with TIA were identified from hospital records. We aimed to recruit 86 patients and pre-defined progression criteria related to feasibility of intervention delivery and trial methods. Results: Development and recruitment phases are complete, with outcome follow-up ongoing. Of 134 (66%) paramedics, 89 participated in TIER. Of 1377 patients attended by trial paramedics during the patient recruitment period, 53 (3.8%) were identified as eligible for trial inclusion. Of 36 (8%) patients attended by intervention paramedics, three were referred to the TIA clinic. Of the others, only one appeared to be a missed referral; in one case there was no pre-hospital record of TIA; one was attended by a paramedic who was not TIER trained; one patient record was missing; and all others were recorded with contra-indications: FAST positive (n = 13); ABCD2 score > 3 (n = 5); already taking warfarin (n = 2); crescendo TIA (n = 1); and other clinical factors (n = 8). Conclusions: Preliminary results indicate challenges in recruitment and low referral rates. The low-risk 999 TIA population suitable for emergency department avoidance may be smaller than previously thought. Further analyses will focus on whether progression criteria for a definitive trial were met, and clinical outcomes from this feasibility trial. Abstract published with permission.
  • Paramedics’ understanding and interpretation of advance care planning: a pilot questionnaire-based study

    Presswood, Edward; Seaman, Siwan; O'Brian, Edward; Byrne, Anthony (2019-03-01)
    Background Paramedics are often the first healthcare professionals to respond to changes in a patient’s condition. However, there has been no previous studies into paramedics’ understanding of legislation relating to advance care planning (ACP), or how they interpret ACP documents. The aim of this pilot study was to find out what knowledge paramedics had about ACP legislation, and how uniformly they interpreted ACP documents. Methods We invited paramedics to complete a questionnaire about ACP. There were four true-or-false questions about the legal aspects of ACP. The questionnaire also included a hypothetical scenario and simulated Do Not Attempt Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation form related to the scenario. The paramedics were asked whether they would, or would not, start CPR in that scenario. Results Fifteen paramedics completed the questionnaire. Five reported that they had previously been taught about legal aspects of advance care planning. The correct answers to the true false questions varied between 67% and 87%. Six paramedics completed the scenario question. Five indicated that they would not start CPR. One paramedic indicated that they would start CPR. Conclusions This pilot study indicates that up to third of paramedics might misunderstand some of the legal aspects relating to ACP. It also indicates a lack of uniformity in how paramedics interpret ACP documents. This study should raise awareness that ACP documents might not always be interpreted as intended. We will use these finding to explore the interpretation of ACP documents in a larger cohort. https://spcare.bmj.com/content/9/Suppl_1/A29.2 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
  • The prehospital 12 lead electrocardiogram is associated with improved outcomes in patients with acute coronary syndromes presenting to emergency medical services: a nationwide linked cohort study

    Quinn, Tom; Driscoll, Timothy; Gavalova, Lucia; Halter, Mary; Gale, Chris P; Weston, Clive FM; Watkins, Alan; Munro, Scott; Davies, Glen; Rosser, Andy; et al.
    Background Use of the Pre-Hospital 12-lead Electrocardiogram (PHECG) is recommended in patients presenting to emergency medical services (EMS) with suspected acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Objectives To investigate differences in mortality between those who did/did not receive PHECG. Methods Population-based, linked cohort study using Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project (MINAP) data from 2010-2017. Results Of 330,713 patients, 263,420 (79.6%) had PHECG, 67,293 (20.3%) did not. 30-day mortality was 7.8% overall, 7.1% with PHECG vs 10.9% without PHECG (adjusted Odds Ratio [aOR] 0.772, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.748-0.795, p<0.001). 1 year mortality was 16.1% overall, 14.2% with PHECG vs 23.2% without (aOR 0.692, 95% CI 0.676-0.708, p<0.001). 144,254 patients had ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI); 130,240 (90.2%) had PHECG, 30 day mortality 8.8% overall, 8.0% with PHECG vs 15.9% without (aOR 0.588, 95% CI 0.557-0.622, p<0.001), 1 year mortality 13.1% overall, 12.1% with PHECG vs 22.8% without (aOR 0.585, 95% CI 0.557-0.614, p<0.001). 186,459 patients had non-STEMI; 133,180 (71.4%) had PHECG. 30- day mortality 7.1% overall, 6.1% with PHECG vs 9.6% without (aOR 0.677, 95%CI 0.652-0.704, p<0.001), 1 year mortality 18.3% overall, 16.3% with PHECG vs 23.3% without (aOR 0.694, 95% CI 0.676-0.713, p<0.001). 110,571 STEMI patients received primary PCI, 103,741 (93.8%) had PHECG. 30 day mortality 5.4% overall, 5.3% with PHECG vs 7.0% without (aOR 0.739, 95% CI 0.667-0.829, p<0.001). 1 year mortality 8.5% overall, 8.4% with PHECG vs 9.8% without (aOR 0.833, 95% CI 0.762-0.911, p<0.001). 26,127 (18.1%) STEMI patients received no reperfusion; 19,873 (76%) had PHECG. Mortality at 30 days 22.1% overall, 21.3% with PHECG vs 24.7% without (aOR 0.911, 95% CI 0.847-0.980, p=0.013), 1 year mortality 32.2% overall, 30.9% with PHECG, 36.4% without (aOR 0.865, 95% CI 0.810-0.925, p<0.001). Conclusion PHECG was associated with lower mortality at 30 days and 1 year in both STEMI and non-STEMI patients https://emj.bmj.com/content/38/9/A2.1 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/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/openhrt-2015-000281
  • Electronic health records in ambulances: the ERA multiple-methods study

    Porter, Alison; Badshah, Anisha; Black, Sarah; Fitzpatrick, David; Harris-Mayes, Robert; Islam, Saiful; Jones, Matthew; Kingston, Mark; LaFlamme-Williams, Yvette; Mason, Suzanne; et al.
  • Palliative medicine doctor and paramedic join to form a palliative care rapid response car. A pilot study

    Presswood, Edward; O'Brian, Ed; Hayes, Jo; Baker, Idris; Pease, Nikki (2019-03)
    Aim To pilot a palliative medicine doctor and paramedic working together within the community to respond to urgent ‘999’ calls. Is the concept feasible, beneficial to patients and cost effective? Method Four palliative medicine doctors across South Wales partnered the End of Life Care Lead Paramedic for WAST (EO’B) to form a PCRRC. Potential patients were identified from the list of contemporaneous logged calls for paramedics to respond to. The PCRRC responded to any calls where it seemed likely that it could have a positive impact upon the care of patients. Result During the four pilot shifts the PCRRC attended four calls and gave telephone advice to three calls. In total 21 hours of doctor time was spent ‘on the road’. The anecdotal feedback from the four doctors is mixed. There was not felt to be an overwhelming need for the service but on two occasions it did have an impact upon decision making, including two decisions not to admit patients. The experience improved doctors’ insight into paramedic care of patients with palliative care needs. Conclusion This is a small feasibility study with inherent biases. The PCRRC concept is feasible and can benefit acute clinical decision making but this pilot suggests that it is unlikely to be an efficient use of resources. There are benefits of the PCRRC model for learning, co-ordination of care, and facilitating shared decision making. We are considering other interventions to improve the interaction between palliative care teams and WAST. https://spcare.bmj.com/content/9/Suppl_1/A43.1 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/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/openhrt-2015-000281
  • ParaVR: a virtual reality training simulator for paramedic skills maintenance

    Rees, Nigel; Vaughan, Neil; Day, Thomas W; Dorrington, Keith; Rees, Lloyd; John, Nigel W (MAG Online, 2020-12-02)
    Abstract Background: Virtual reality (VR) technology is emerging as a powerful tool in medical training and has potential benefits for paramedic education. Aim: The aim of this paper is to report the development of ParaVR, which uses VR to maintain paramedics' skills. Methods: Computer scientists at the University of Chester and the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (WAST) developed ParaVR in four stages: identifying requirements and specifications; alpha version development; beta version development; and management—development of software, further funding and commercialisation. Results: Needle cricothyrotomy and needle thoracostomy emerged as candidates for the prototype ParaVR. The Oculus Rift head-mounted display was combined with Novint Falcon haptic device and a virtual environment crafted using 3D modelling software, which was ported to the Oculus Go virtual reality headset and the Google Cardboard VR platform. Conclusion: VR is an emerging educational tool with the potential to enhance paramedic skills development and maintenance. The ParaVR programme is the first step in the authors' development, testing and scaling up of this technology. Abstract published with permission
  • Targeted temperature management: beneficial or not?

    Ricketts, Kelley; Jones, Bridie (MAG Online, 2020-06-02)
    Abstract Targeted temperature management (TTM), formerly known as therapeutic hypothermia, has been shown to improve survival and neurological recovery in patients following cardiac arrest. Following successes with its in-hospital implementation, many guidelines now advocate its use in the prehospital domain for all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs). It has been suggested that patients presenting with shockable rhythms who receive early initiation of TTM have better survival rates. TTM can be initiated in the prehospital setting with minimal equipment. This article discusses and explores the potential benefits and pitfalls of targeted temperature management when initiated in the prehospital environment. Particular focus is given to potential treatment strategies that can be used by paramedics to adequately manage OHCA. It is proposed that prehospital TTM is advantageous to all patients in cardiac arrest and can be efficacious in a variety of prehospital environments, with its implementation requiring only minimal equipment. Abstract published with permission

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