• Decision making and safety in ambulance service transitions

      O'Hara, Rachel; Johnson, Maxine; Hirst, Enid; Weyman, Andrew; Shaw, Deborah; Mortimer, Peter; Newman, Chris; Storey, Matthew; Turner, Janette; Mason, Suzanne; et al. (2015-05)
      Introduction Decisions made by ambulance staff are often timecritical and based on limited information. Wrong decisions could have serious consequences for patients but little is known about areas of risk associated with decisions about patient care. We aimed to examine system in fluences on decision making in the ambulance service setting focusing on paramedic roles. Method An exploratory mixed methods qualitative study was conducted in three Ambulance Service Trusts. A document search and 16 interviews were conducted to understand service delivery in each Trust, how they link with other services and potential influences on decisions about patient care. Researchers observed ambulance crews on 34 shifts and 10 paramedics completed ‘digital diaries’ to report challenges for decision making or patient safety. Three focus groups with staff (N=21) and three with service users (N=23) were held to explore their views on decision making and patient safety. Data were charted to produce a typology of decisions then coded and thematically analysed to identify in fluences on those decisions. Findings Nine types of decision were identi fied, ranging from specialist emergency pathways to non-conveyance. In fluences on these decisions included communication with Control Room staff; patient assessment, decision support and alternative options to ED conveyance. Seven main issues in fluencing patient safety in decision making were identi fied: meeting demand; performance and priorities; access to care options; risk aversion; education, training and professional development for crews; communication and feedback to crews; resources and safety culture. Conclusions A range of decisions are made by ambulance staff in complex, time bound changing conditions. Training and development and access to alternative options to ED conveyance were identi fied as particularly important issues. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/32/5/e2.1.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-2015-204880.4
    • Identifying barriers and facilitators to improving prehospital care of asthma: views of ambulance clinicians

      Shaw, Deborah; Knowles, Stacey; Siriwardena, Aloysius (2011-11)
      Background In 2008/2009 there were nearly 80 000 emergency hospital admissions for asthma. Current UK guidelines emphasise the importance of evidence-based prehospital assessment and treatment of asthma for improving patient outcomes and reducing hospitalisation, morbidity and mortality. National benchmarking of ambulance clinical performance indicators for asthma have revealed important unexplained variations in care across ambulance services. Little research has been undertaken to understand the reasons for poor levels of care. Objective The aim of this study was to gather data on ambulance clinicians' perceptions and beliefs around prevailing and best practice for management of asthma. This was used to identify the factors which prevent or enable better asthma care in ambulance services. Methods We used a phenomenological qualitative approach, which addresses how individuals use their experiences to make sense of their world, focusing on participants' lived experiences of care delivery for asthma. We used focus groups of ambulance clinicians to gather data on barriers and facilitators to better asthma care. Recordings and notes were taken, transcribed and then analysed using QSR NVivo 8. A coding framework was developed based on a priori concepts but with emergent themes added during the analysis. Results Two focus groups were conducted with eight and five participants respectively. A number of preliminary themes and subthemes were identified. The study identified issues relating to clarity of ambulance guidelines, conflicts between training and guidance, misconceptions about the importance of objective assessment and over reliance on non-objective assessment. Some practitioners believed that hospital staff were not interested in prehospital peak flow assessments. Conclusion Our findings will inform improved systems of care for asthma and the effect on indicators will be measured using time series methods. This approach could be used more widely to improve management of specific clinical conditions where quality of care is demonstrated to be suboptimal. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/28/11/e2.10.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-2011-200645.3