• Clinical navigation for beginners: the clinical utility and safety of the Paramedic Pathfinder

      Newton, Mark; Tunn, Eddie; Moses, Ian; Ratcliffe, David; Mackway-Jones, Kevin C. (2014-10)
      Background English Ambulance Services are faced with annual increases in emergency demand. Addressing the demand for low acuity emergency calls relies upon the ability of ambulance clinicians to accurately identify the most appropriate destination or referral pathway. Given the risk of undertriage, the challenge is to develop processes that can safely determine patient dispositions, thereby increasing the number of patients receiving care closer to home. Aims The aim of the study was to evaluate the clinical utility and safety of triage support tools (Paramedic Pathfinders). Methods Two triage filters (Pathfinders) were developed (one medical, one trauma). These were applied by ambulance clinicians to 481 patients who had been transported to emergency departments (EDs). Preferred (gold standard) patient dispositions were established by senior medical practitioners using both ambulance and ED clinical records. The clinical utility of ambulance clinicians using Pathfinders was evaluated against this gold standard. Results The Medical Pathfinder was applied to 367 patients (76.3%) and the Trauma Pathfinder to 114 (23.7%). Agreement between ambulance clinician and gold standard was achieved in 387 cases (80.5%) giving the tools a combined sensitivity of 94.83% and specificity of 57.9%. 20.9% of medical patients and 30.7% of trauma patients who had been transported to hospital could have been safely cared for elsewhere. Conclusions Ambulance clinicians using Pathfinders have demonstrated acceptable levels of sensitivity in identifying patients who require ED care. The actual impact of the tools in clinical practice will be dependent on the provision of suitable alternatives to ED. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/31/e1/e29.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-2012-202033
    • The head injury transportation straight to neurosurgery (HITS-NS) randomised trial: a feasibility study

      Lecky, Fiona; Russell, Wanda; Fuller, Gordon W.; McClelland, Graham; Pennington, Elspeth; Goodacre, Steve; Han, Kyee; Curran, Andrew; Holliman, Damian; Freeman, Jennifer; et al. (2016-01)
    • Terms used to describe key symptoms in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest by people calling 999 emergency medical services: a qualitative analysis of call recordings to two uk ambulance services

      Gibson, Josephine M.E.; Jones, Stephanie P.; Hurley, Margaret; Auton, Mal; Leathley, Michael J.; Sutton, Christopher J.; Bangee, Munirah; Benedetto, Valerio; Chesworth, Brigit; Miller, Colette; et al. (2017-10)
      Background Cardiac arrest outside hospital is a catastrophic medical emergency experienced by an estimated 60 000 people a year in the UK. The speed and accuracy with which cardiac arrest outside hospital is recognised by 999 call handlers is fundamental to improving the chance of survival, but is extremely challenging. We aimed to identify how cardiac arrest is actually described by callers during dialogues with 999 call handlers. Methods Data was obtained from two acute NHS trusts and their two local ambulance trusts for all cases of suspected or actual out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) or imminent medically witnessed cardiac arrest (MWCA) which led to transfer to one of the study hospitals, for a one year period (1/7/2013–30/6/2014). The 999 call recordings were listened to in full; words or phrases used by callers to describe clinical signs and symptoms were identified and clustered into key indicator symptoms using a thematic approach. Findings 429 cases of cardiac arrest were identified, of which 246 (57.3%) were dispatched using a ‘cardiac arrest’ code. 6 callers (1.4%) used the term ‘cardiac arrest’ or a synonym. Key indicator symptoms reported most frequently were unconsciousness (64.8%), ineffective breathing (61.9%), and absent breathing (48.8%). Descriptors of conscious level included diverse colloquialisms and terms relating to reduced or fluctuating level of consciousness (17.2%). Descriptors of ineffective breathing included diverse terms relating to slow, fast, irregular, agonal, dyspnoea, and shallow breathing, plus nonspecific terms (e.g. ‘breathing’s funny); and ‘don’t know’ statements. Conclusion Callers’ descriptors of key symptoms of OHCA are varied and include many colloquialisms. Call handler training should include awareness of likely descriptions, particularly of ineffective breathing, which may be more commonly reported than absent breathing. https://emj.bmj.com/content/34/10/e10.1 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/ http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2017-207114.27