• Can older people who fall be identified in the ambulance call centre to enable alternative responses or care pathways?

      Snooks, Helen; Cheung, Wai Yee; Gwini, Stella; Humphreys, Ioan; Sanchez, Antonio; Siriwardena, Aloysius (2011-03-01)
      Background Older people who fall make up a substantial proportion of the 999 workload. They are a particularly vulnerable group who may benefit from referral to specialised community based falls services. This requires early identification, ideally from dispatch codes assigned in the ambulance call centre. Objective To assess the feasibility of using information given during 999 calls to identify older people who fall and who may benefit from an alternative response. Methods We examined all records of patients aged 65 years and over during 2008 in the Nottinghamshire area and identified those recorded as having fallen by attending crews. Dispatch codes were recorded for all cases and the utility of the dispatch code ‘Fall without priority symptoms’ (AMPDS 17) for identifying older people who had fallen was assessed. Results From 56 584 emergency (999) calls recorded, including 8119 for patients aged 65 years and over, 3246 (40%) cases were recorded as a fall. Of these, 2186 (67%) had been allocated AMPDS code 17 at dispatch (true positives), and 413 (13%) had not (false negatives), with 647 unknowns. Of 4871 cases not categorised as a fall by attending crews, 175 (4%) had been allocated an AMPDS code 17 (false positives), and 3315 (68%) had been given other codes (true negatives), with 1381 unknowns. The dispatch code AMPDS 17 had a sensitivity of 84% and a specificity of 95% for identifying falls compared with categorisation by crews. Limitations Definition of a fall is not always clear and there may be variations in usage of the category by crews. There was a high level of missing data in this study. Conclusion A large majority of older people who fall and for whom a 999 call is made can be identified in the ambulance call centre using dispatch codes. This provides a means for rapid and effective targeting of alternative responses to these patients, thereby potentially improving processes and outcomes of care. https://emj.bmj.com/content/28/3/e1.21. 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.2010.108605.9
    • Investigating the understanding, use and experiences of older people in Lincolnshire accessing emergency and urgent services via 999 and NHS 111: a scoping study

      Togher, Fiona Jayne; Windle, Karen; Essam, Nadya; Hardwick, Jialin; Phung, Viet-Hai; Vowles, Valerie (2015-05)
      Introduction During 2011/12, East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) received 776,000 emergency 999 calls of which 36% (277,000) did not require transportation to hospital. Inappropriate calls can be due to public misunderstanding of when it is appropriate to ring 999. NHS 111 is an alternative free telephone service that enables the public to access health care advice or resources when the matter is urgent but not a 999 emergency. However knowing which service to telephone is not always easy and such a decision can be particularly dif ficult for older people as symptom presentation across complex co-morbidities can be atypical. A mixed method scoping project was carried out to explore the understanding, use and experiences of emergency (999) and urgent services (NHS 111) by older people aged 65 and over. Here, we report findings from the qualitative workstream. Methods Semi-structured interviews and focus groups (n=25) using a topic guide were carried out with a purposive sample of older people who had used the 999 ambulance service and/or the NHS 111 service in the East Midlands. Results We found a lack of awareness as to the remit of NHS 111 and confusion as to when this number should be phoned. Older people ’s expectations of 111 seemed to be analogous to other primary care services. As a consequence, participants were often dissatisfied with the service response; it neither provided useful advice nor reassurance. Greater satisfaction was reported with the call handling process and hospital transportation through EMAS (999) and older people ’s reported rationale for phoning 999 would seem to suggest appropriate service use. Conclusion Developing a greater understanding of how older people decide to contact a service would support future policy and practice implementation. If the remit of a service is unclear and accompanying publicity confusing, older people will continue to dial 999. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/32/5/e2.2.full.pdf 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/ http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2015-204880.5