• Ambulance clinicians' perceptions, assessment and management of frailty: thematic analysis of focus groups

      Green, Jonathan; Kirby, Kim; Hope, Suzy (2018-12-01)
      Introduction: More than half of all patients attended by the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust are over the age of 65. In 2017, 62% of older patients who were the subject of a frailty assessment were believed to have at least mild frailty (1/5 of all patients). Frailty is an increasingly relevant concept/diagnosis and ambulance services are well positioned to identify frailty and influence the 'care pathways' through which patients are directed (thereby influencing health outcomes). Throughout the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, a mandatory training session regarding frailty was delivered to clinical personnel in 2017 and frailty assessment tools are available on the electronic Patient Clinical Record. Aim: To explore and gain insight into the current knowledge, practice and attitudes of ambulance clinicians regarding frailty and patients with frailty. Methods: Two focus groups of ambulance clinicians (n = 8; n = 9) recruited from across the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust were held in October 2017. Focus group discussions were analysed thematically. Results: Knowledge of conceptual models of frailty, appropriate assessment of patients with frailty and appropriate care pathways varied substantially among focus group participants. Completion of the 'Rockwood' Clinical Frailty Scale for relevant patients has become routine. However, conflicting opinions were expressed regarding the context and purpose of this. The Timed-Up-and-Go mobility assessment tool is also on the electronic Patient Clinical Record, but difficulties regarding its completion were expressed.Patient management strategies ranged from treatment options which the ambulance service can provide, to referrals to primary/community care which can support the management of patients in their homes, and options to refer patients directly to hospital units or specialists with the aim of facilitating appropriate assessment, treatment and discharge. Perceptions of limited availability and geographical variability regarding these referral pathways was a major feature of the discussions, raising questions regarding awareness, capacity, inter-professional relationships and patient choice. Conclusion: Knowledge, practice and attitudes of ambulance staff, with regard to frailty, varied widely. This reflected the emerging nature of the condition, both academically and clinically, within the ambulance profession and the wider healthcare system. Abstract published with permission.
    • Consensus statement: a framework for safe and effective intubation by paramedics

      Gowens, Paul; Aitken-Fell, Paul; Broughton, William; Harris, Liz; Williams, Julia; Younger, Paul; Bywater, David; Crookston, Colin; Curatolo, Lisa; Edwards, Tim; et al. (2018-06)
      Abstract published with permission. This consensus statement provides profession-specific guidance in relation to tracheal intubation by paramedics ‐ a procedure that the College of Paramedics supports. Tracheal intubation by paramedics has been the subject of professional and legal debate as well as crown investigation. It is therefore timely that the College of Paramedics, through this consensus group, reviews the available evidence and expert opinion in order to prevent patient harm and promote patient safety, clinical effectiveness and professional standards. It is not the purpose of this consensus statement to remove the skill of tracheal intubation from paramedics. Neither is it intended to debate the efficacy of intubation or the effect on mortality or morbidity, as other formal research studies will answer those questions. The consensus of this group is that paramedics can perform tracheal intubation safely and effectively. However, a safe, well-governed system of continual training, education and competency must be in place to serve both patients and the paramedics delivering their care.
    • Research paramedics’ observations regarding the challenges and strategies employed in the implementation of a large-scale out-of-hospital randomised trial

      Green, Jonathan; Robinson, Maria; Pilbery, Richard; Whitley, Gregory; Hall, Helen; Clout, Madeleine; Reeves, Barnaby; Kirby, Kim; Benger, Jonathan (2020-06-01)
      Introduction: AIRWAYS-2 was a cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparing the clinical and cost effectiveness of the i-gel supraglottic airway device with tracheal intubation in the initial airway management of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). In order to successfully conduct this clinical trial, it was necessary for research paramedics to overcome multiple challenges, many of which will be relevant to future emergency medical service (EMS) research. This article aims to describe a number of the challenges that were encountered during the out-of-hospital phase of the AIRWAYS-2 trial and how these were overcome. Methods: The research paramedics responsible for conducting the pre-hospital phase of the trial were asked to reflect on their experience of facilitating the AIRWAYS-2 trial. Responses were then collated by the lead author. A process of iterative revision and review was undertaken by the research paramedics to produce a consensus of opinion. Results: The main challenges identified by the trial research paramedics related to the recruitment and training of paramedics, screening of eligible patients and investigation of protocol deviations / reporting errors. Even though a feasibility study was conducted prior to the commencement of AIRWAYS-2, the scale of these challenges was underestimated. Conclusion: Large-scale pragmatic cluster randomised trials are being successfully undertaken in out-of-hospital care. However, they require intensive engagement with EMS clinicians and local research paramedics, particularly when the intervention is contentious. Feasibility studies are an important part of research but may fail to identify all potential challenges. Therefore, flexibility is required to manage unforeseen difficulties. Abstract published with permission.
    • A survey of paramedic advanced airway practice in the UK

      Younger, Paul; Pilbery, Richard; Lethbridge, Kris (2016-12)
      Abstract published with permission. Introduction ‐ Although there are published studies examining UK paramedic airway management in the out-of-hospital setting, there has been no sizeable survey of practicing UK paramedics that examines their advanced airway management practice, training and confidence. Therefore, the Airway Management Group of the College of Paramedics commissioned a survey to gain an up to date snapshot of advanced airway management practice across the UK among paramedics. Methods ‐ An online questionnaire was created, and a convenience sample of Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered paramedics was invited to participate in the survey. Invitations were made using the College of Paramedics e-mail mailing list, the College website, as well as social media services such as Twitter and Facebook. The survey ran online for 28 days from 21 October to 18 November 2014 to allow as many paramedics to participate as possible. The survey questions considered a range of topics including which supraglottic airway devices are most commonly available in practice and whether or not tracheal intubation also formed a part of individual skillsets. In relation to intubation, respondents were asked a range of questions including which education programmes had been used for original skill acquisition, how skills were maintained, what techniques and equipment were available for intubation attempts, individual practitioner confidence in intubation and how intubation attempts were documented. Results ‐ A total of 1658 responses to the survey were received. Following data cleansing, 152 respondents were removed from the survey, leaving a total of 1506. This represented 7.3% of paramedics registered with the HCPC (20,565) at the time the survey was conducted. The majority of respondents were employed within NHS ambulance services. Summary ‐ This is the largest survey of UK paramedics conducted to date, in relation to advanced airway management. It provides an overview of advanced airway management, with a particular focus on intubation, being conducted by UK paramedics.
    • Tools to predict acute traumatic coagulopathy in the pre-hospital setting: a review of the literature

      Robinson, Simon; Kirton, Jordan (2020-12-01)
      Introduction: Recognising acute traumatic coagulopathy (ATC) poses a significant challenge to improving survival in emergency care. Paramedics are in a prime position to identify ATC in pre-hospital major trauma and initiate appropriate coagulopathy management. Method: A database literature review was conducted using Scopus, CINAHL and MEDLINE. Results: Two themes were identified from four studies: prediction tools, and point-of-care testing. Prediction tools identified key common ATC markers in the pre-hospital setting, including: systolic blood pressure, reduced Glasgow Coma Score and trauma to the chest, abdomen and pelvis. Point-of-care testing was found to have limited value. Conclusion: Future research needs to explore paramedics using prediction tools in identifying ATC, which could alert hospitals to prepare for blood products for damage control resuscitation. Abstract published with permission.
    • UK ambulance service resuscitation management of pulseless electrical activity: a systematic review protocol of text and opinion

      Coppola, Alison; Black, Sarah; Johnston, Sasha; Endacott, Ruth (2020-06-01)
      Abstract published with permission. Background: Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients with pulseless electrical activity are treated by paramedics using basic and advanced life support resuscitation. When resuscitation fails to achieve return of spontaneous circulation, there are limited evidence and national guidelines on when to continue or stop resuscitation. This has led to ambulance services in the United Kingdom developing local guidelines to support paramedics in the resuscitative management of pulseless electrical activity. The content of each guideline is unknown, as is any association between guideline implementation and patient survival. We aim to identify and synthesise local ambulance service guidelines to help improve the consistency of paramedic-led decision-making for the resuscitation of pulseless electrical activity in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Methods: A systematic review of text and opinion will be conducted on ambulance service guidelines for resuscitating adult cardiac arrest patients with pulseless electrical activity. Data will be gathered direct from the ambulance service website. The review will be guided by the methods of the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI). The search strategy will be conducted in three stages: 1) a website search of the 14 ambulance services; 2) a search of the evidence listed in support of the guideline; and 3) an examination of the reference list of documents found in the first and second stages and reported using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses. Each document will be assessed against the inclusion criteria, and quality of evidence will be assessed using the JBI Critical Appraisal Checklist for Text and Opinion. Data will be extracted using the JBI methods of textual data extraction and a three-stage data synthesis process: 1) extraction of opinion statements; 2) categorisation of statements according to similarity of meaning; and 3) meta-synthesis of statements to create a new collection of findings. Confidence of findings will be assessed using the graded ConQual approach.
    • What out-of-hours antibiotic prescribing practices are contributing to antibiotic resistance: a literature review

      Hart, Jasmine; Phillips, Peter (2020-03-01)
      Abstract published with permission. Background: Overuse of antibiotics and inappropriate prescribing has resulted in a rapid increase in the rate of antibiotic resistance, with poorer patient outcomes and increased health costs. In the out-of-hours setting, a high proportion of antibiotics are prescribed and practices need to improve to reduce antibiotic resistance. Purpose: To identify antibiotic prescribing practices in European out-of-hours primary care services that are contributing to antibiotic resistance. Design: The review was conducted in alignment with the PRISMA statement (Moher, Liberati, Tetzlaff, Altman, & PRISMA Group, 2009). Methods: A literature search was performed using MySearch to identify European literature. The search was focused on antibiotic/antimicrobial prescribing in an out-of-hours environment, and any reports that described factors correlating with the nature of prescribing practices were examined. Results: The literature search located 91 articles, out of which seven met the inclusion criteria. Two articles described clinicians’ experiences in antibiotic prescribing in out-of-hours, two compared in-office and after-hours prescribing, two described prescribing patterns in out-of-hours and one examined prescribing in children. Four main themes were identified: antibiotics prescribed and conditions associated with prescribing; consultation time; the day of consultation; and parental opinion. Conclusion: Overprescribing to self-limiting conditions, prescribing of broad-spectrum antibiotics, time constraints, safeguarding issues and poor communication are all contributing to inappropriate antibiotic prescribing. Further research is needed relating to whether clinicians are adhering to antibiotic guidelines and to explore patients’ experiences and expectations from the out-of-hours practitioners with respect to antibiotic prescribing.