• Acquisition and interpretation of focused diagnostic ultrasound images by ultrasound-naive advanced paramedics: trialling a PHUS education programme

      Brooke, Mike; Walton, Julie; Scutt, Diane; Connolly, Jim; Jarman, Bob (2012-04)
      Objective This trial investigated whether advanced paramedics from a UK regional ambulance service have the ability to acquire and interpret diagnostic quality ultrasound images following a 2-day programme of education and training covering the fundamental aspects of lung ultrasound. Method The participants were tested using a two-part examination; assessing both their theoretical understanding of image interpretation and their practical ability to acquire diagnostic quality ultrasound images. The results obtained were subsequently compared with those obtained from expert physician sonographers. Results The advanced paramedics demonstrated an overall accuracy in identifying the presence or absence of pneumothorax in M-mode clips of 0.94 (CI 0.86 to 0.99), compared with the experts who achieved 0.93 (CI 0.67 to 1.0). In two-dimensional mode, the advanced paramedics demonstrated an overall accuracy of 0.78 (CI 0.72 to 0.83), compared with the experts who achieved 0.76 (CI 0.62 to 0.86). In total, the advanced paramedics demonstrated an overall accuracy at identifying the presence or absence of pneumothorax in prerecorded video clip images of 0.82 (CI 0.77 to 0.86), in comparison with the expert users of 0.80 (CI 0.68 to 0.88). All of the advanced paramedics passed the objective structured clinical examination and achieved a practical standard considered by the examiners to be equivalent to that which would be expected from candidates enrolled on the thoracic module of the College of Emergency Medicine level 2 ultrasound programme. Conclusion This trial demonstrated that ultrasoundnaive practitioners can achieve an acceptable standard of competency in a simulated environment in a relatively short period of time. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/29/4/322.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/emj.2010.106484
    • Adrenal insufficiency: improving paramedic practice

      Baines, Andy (2015-04)
      Abstract published with permission. Acute adrenal insufficiency, which includes Addisonian crisis, can lead to severe morbidity and even death if ineffectively managed. Unfortunately in the pre-hospital setting patients with acute adrenal insufficiency often receive sub-optimal care. The early administration of hydrocortisone in these cases is critical and significantly improves outcomes to the extent it can be life saving. Such therapy is part of current paramedic practice; however, there is evidence that hydrocortisone is rarely used in the pre-hospital setting. Ultimately, patients with acute adrenal insufficiency may currently be sub-optimally managed by paramedics. To combat this, this article will define the current optimal practice in this area and explain how an e-learning package will be used within North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust to educate paramedics in best practice in this area.
    • Advance decisions to refuse treatment and suicidal behaviour in emergency care: 'it's very much a step into the unknown'

      Quinlivan, Leah; Nowland, Rebecca; Steeg, Sarah; Cooper, Jayne; Meehan, Declan; Godfrey, Joseph; Robertson, Duncan; Longson, Damien; Potokar, John; Davies, Rosie; et al. (2019-06-13)
    • The art and science of mentorship in action

      Jones, Paul; Comber, Jason; Conboy, Adrian (2012-08)
      Abstract published with permission. The authors have collaborated to produce this article bringing together more than 60years of combined experience of paramedic practice, education and management. All maintain their paramedic registration and have among their goals the advancement and development of knowledge, skills and professionalism to promote an effective contemporary paramedic who continues to meet the care needs of the communities they serve. Practice mentors are pivotal to the success of a modern, fit-for-purpose paramedic curriculum that requires a significant proportion of learning and assessment to take place in the practice setting. This article focuses on the support that is needed for mentors during major professional and organisational change. Change which is aligned to localised multifaceted organisational strategies and change which includes supporting mentors, enabling them to carry out their function professionally, effectively and with confidence. This article discusses experiences of a collaborative, structured approach to mentorship support which is achieved through organisational, educational and professional alliances. It also explores other approaches and suggests a way forward in terms of a national governance framework.
    • Assessment of frailty in Alzheimer’s: a literature review

      Smith, Kirsty; Wallington, Sophie (2019-07)
    • Breaking bad news and managing family during an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest

      Mainds, Matthew D.; Jones, Colin (2018-07)
      Abstract published with permission. The management of family during out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and death notification to the family of the deceased in the out-of-hospital setting are topics that are poorly evidenced. Two focus groups consisting of six participants in each were conducted, discussing the two subjects. The results suggest that paramedics prefer family not to be present in the room for a number of reasons and that they don’t feel sufficiently trained by their paramedic courses in order to manage family during resuscitation or breaking bad news. The study highlighted a need for more research on both subjects.
    • Building up a positive culture

      Smith, Daniel (2019-01-12)
    • Bypassing nearest hospital for more distant neuroscience care in head-injured adults with suspected traumatic brain injury: findings of the head injury transportation straight to neurosurgery (HITS-NS) pilot cluster randomised trial

      Lecky, Fiona E.; Russell, Wanda; McClelland, Graham; Pennington, Elspeth; Fuller, Gordon W.; Goodacre, Steve; Han, Kyee; Curran, Andrew; Holliman, Damian; Chapman, Nathan; et al. (2017-10)
      Objective Reconfiguration of trauma services, with direct transport of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) to specialist neuroscience centres (SNCs)— bypassing non-specialist acute hospitals (NSAHs), could improve outcomes. However, delays in stabilisation of airway, breathing and circulation (ABC) may worsen outcomes when compared with selective secondary transfer from nearest NSAH to SNC. We conducted a pilot cluster randomised controlled trial to determine the feasibility and plausibility of bypassing suspected patients with TBI —directly into SNCs—producing a measurable effect. Setting Two English Ambulance Services. Participants 74 clusters (ambulance stations) were randomised within pairs after matching for important characteristics. Clusters enrolled head-injured adults— injured nearest to an NSAH—with internationally accepted TBI risk factors and stable ABC. We excluded participants attended by Helicopter Emergency Medical Services or who were injured more than 1 hour by road from nearest SNC. Interventions Intervention cluster participants were transported directly to an SNC bypassing nearest NSAH; control cluster participants were transported to nearest NSAH with selective secondary transfer to SNC. Outcomes Trial recruitment rate (target n=700 per annum) and percentage with TBI on CT scan (target 80%) were the primary feasibility outcomes. 30-day mortality, 6-month Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale and quality of life were secondary outcomes. Results 56 ambulance station clusters recruited 293 patients in 12 months. The trial arms were similar in terms of age, conscious level and injury severity. Less than 25% of recruited patients had TBI on CT (n=70) with 7% (n=20) requiring neurosurgery. Complete case analysis showed similar 30-day mortality in the two trial arms (control=8.8 (2.7–14.0)% vs intervention=9.4(2.3–14.0)%). Conclusion Bypassing patients with suspected TBI to SNCs gives an overtriage (false positive) ratio of 13:1 for neurosurgical intervention and 4:1 for TBI. A measurable effect from a full trial of early neuroscience care following bypass is therefore unlikely https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/bmjopen/7/10/e016355.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/bmjopen-2017-016355
    • Can paramedics avoid A&E departments with patients complaining of non-traumatic chest pain?

      Best, Pete (2017-04)
      Abstract published with permission. The ‘Paramedic Pathfinder’, a triage tool for paramedics, contains a discriminator for patients complaining of non-traumatic chest pain. The pathfinder advises all patients with non-traumatic chest pain to be taken to hospital. Given a background of large numbers of patients complaining of chest pain and the policy direction of UK ambulance services to treat patients closer to home, the inclusion of discriminator in the pathfinder can be challenged. A greater understanding of ACS, university education for paramedics, bedside troponin measurement, ACS risk scoring, current NICE guidelines and rapid access chest pain clinics have been identified as enablers to remove the discriminator safely and assist paramedics in finding suitable alternatives to Accident and Emergency for certain patients. Risk is an important factor in discussing chest pain and establishing the best pathway for patients. The enablers identified need further testing and development in the pre-hospital environment before they can be utilised.
    • The challenges of conducting prehospital research: successes and lessons learnt from the Head Injury Transportation Straight to Neurosurgery (HITS-NS) trial

      McClelland, Graham; Pennington, Elspeth; Byers, Sonia; Russell, Wanda; Lecky, Fiona (2015-08)
      Head Injury Transportation Straight to Neurosurgery was a cluster randomised trial studying suspected severe head injury treatment pathways conducted in the North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust between January 2012 and March 2013. This was the world's first large scale trial of any trauma bypass and was conducted as a feasibility study. This short report will describe some of the lessons learnt during this ground breaking and complex trial. https://emj.bmj.com/content/32/8/663.long 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-2014-203870
    • Clinical care in the warm zone: a responder’s perspective upon clinical practice in support of UK tactical medical operations

      Hooper, Craig (2016-06)
      Abstract published with permission. Active shooter incidents both nationally and internationally have embedded significant cultural reforms within emergency medical services response frameworks. The deployment of specialist responders within specific preidentified areas or ‘zones’ of an active shooter incident is unprecedented, and reflects the level of public expectation now required of the ambulance service. As seen within the recent 2015 Paris attacks, the delivery of effective clinical practice in tactical medical operations (TMO) facilitates a range of unique challenges for clinical responders. Conflicting priorities between operational tactics and clinical priorities, especially within multiagency working, has historically led to ‘Good medicine becoming bad tactics, and bad tactics leading to further casualties’ (Butler, 2001: 625). Although situational dynamics may make it impossible to ever achieve an absolute equilibrium of safety and tactical efficiency within this sphere of practice, this article intends to contribute toward achieving this ideal by reviewing the Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) guidelines to establish if this framework would be compatible for use within the UK’s TMO response framework.
    • 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
    • A clinical review of the indications for, and subsequent implementation of, a pilot pre-hospital sepsis pathway within NWAS

      Butterworth, Daniel (2015-10)
      Abstract published with permission. Aim: Review the clinical evidence for, and introduce a modified ‘Red Flag’ sepsis screening tool, treatment pathway and associated education package into a pilot site within the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) and evaluate its impact. Methods: Retrospective application of a modified ‘Red Flag’ sepsis screening tool to 259 hospital confirmed cases of sepsis to evaluate the current identification and treatment of sepsis within NWAS.A subsequent prospective pilot launch of the tool within central Manchester in collaboration with Salford Royal Foundation Trust and Central Manchester Foundation Trust hospital emergency departments,collecting and analysing 100 cases of suspected sepsis in which the screening tool has been utilised. Results: The modified ‘Red Flag’ sepsis tool was found to be highly sensitive when applied retrospectively. Only 46% of confirmed severe sepsis cases were found to show hypotension (systolic BP <90 mmHg) pre-hospital. In the pilot,complete analysis of Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) criteria and a suspicion and documentation of sepsis increased from 15% to 94%. Compliance with a bundle of care in suspected severe sepsis cases increased from 10% to 90%. Conclusions: The introduction of a modified ‘Red Flag’ screening tool significantly improved pre-hospital sepsis identification and treatment within the pilot site. Paramedics were able to give fluid boluses to normotensive patients in suspected severe sepsis safely without adverse incident.
    • Community service

      Byrom, Sarah (2013-04)