• Effective clinical feedback provision to ambulance clinicians: a literature review

      Eaton-Williams, Peter; Mold, Freda; Magnusson, Carin (2020-03-12)
      Background Clinical feedback provision to health professionals is advocated to benefit both clinical development and work engagement. Aim This literature review aims to develop recommendations for effective clinical feedback provision by examining mechanisms that exist specifically for ambulance clinicians. Method: A systematic search of contemporary literature identified 15 research papers and four articles, which were included for review and narrative synthesis. Findings The initial identification of practice that requires improvement, together with an understanding of the practitioners' baseline attitudes, is important. While minimising resource demands will improve sustainability, repeated interaction with clinicians will benefit effectiveness. Provision should be balanced and timely, and who delivers feedback is significant. Clinical outcome feedback not restricted to specific conditions requires further consideration of which incidents will initiate feedback and what information will be supplied. Conclusion Feedback has been shown to improve clinical performance but demonstrating subsequent benefits to patient outcomes has proved more difficult. Abstract published with permission.
    • Exploring paramedic perceptions of feedback using a phenomenological approach

      Eaton-Williams, Peter; Mold, Freda; Magnusson, Carin (2020-06-01)
      Abstract published with permission. Objectives: Despite widespread advocacy of a feedback culture in healthcare, paramedics receive little feedback on their clinical performance. Provision of ‘outcome feedback’, or information concerning health-related patient outcomes following incidents that paramedics have attended, is proposed, to provide paramedics with a means of assessing and developing their diagnostic and decision-making skills. To inform the design of feedback mechanisms, this study aimed to explore the perceptions of paramedics concerning current feedback provision and to discover their attitudes towards formal provision of patient outcome feedback. Methods: Convenience sampling from a single ambulance station in the United Kingdom (UK) resulted in eight paramedics participating in semi-structured interviews. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was employed to generate descriptive and interpretative themes related to both current and potential feedback provision. Results: The perception that only exceptional incidents initiate feedback, and that often the required depth of information supplied is lacking, resulted in some participants describing an isolation of their daily practice. Barriers and limitations of the informal processes currently employed to access feedback were also highlighted. Formal provision of outcome feedback was anticipated by participants to benefit the integration and progression of the paramedic profession as a whole, in addition to facilitating the continued development and well-being of the individual clinician. Participants anticipated feedback to be delivered electronically to minimise resource demands, with delivery initiated by the individual clinician. However, a level of support or supervision may also be required to minimise the potential for harmful consequences. Conclusions: Establishing a just feedback culture within paramedic practice may reduce a perceived isolation of clinical practice, enabling both individual development and progression of the profession. Carefully designed formal outcome feedback mechanisms should be initiated and subsequently evaluated to establish resultant benefits and costs.
    • A national survey of ambulance paramedics on the identification of patients with end of life care needs

      Eaton-Williams, Peter; Barrett, Jack; Mortimer, Craig; Williams, Julia (2020-12-01)
      Objectives: Developing the proactive identification of patients with end of life care (EoLC) needs within ambulance paramedic clinical practice may improve access to care for patients not benefitting from EoLC services at present. To inform development of this role, this study aims to assess whether ambulance paramedics currently identify EoLC patients, are aware of identification guidance and believe this role is appropriate for their practice. Methods: Between 4 November 2019 and 5 January 2020, registered paramedics from nine English NHS ambulance service trusts were invited to complete an online questionnaire. The questionnaire initially explored current practice and awareness, employing multiple-choice questions. The Gold Standards Framework Proactive Identification Guidance (GSF PIG) was then presented as an example of EoLC assessment guidance, and further questions, permitting freetext responses, explored attitudes towards performing this role. Results: 1643 questionnaires were analysed. Most participants (79.9%; n = 1313) perceived that they attended a patient who was unrecognised as within the last year of life on at least a monthly basis. Despite 72.0% (n = 1183) of paramedics indicating that they had previously made an EoLC referral to a General Practitioner, only 30.5% (n = 501) were familiar with the GSF PIG and of those only 25.9% (n = 130) had received training in its use. Participants overwhelmingly believed that they could (94.4%; n = 1551) and should (97.0%; n = 1594) perform this role, yet current barriers were identified as the inaccessibility of a patient’s medical records, inadequate EoLC education and communication difficulties. Consequently, facilitators to performing this role were identified as the provision of training in EoLC assessment guidance and establishing accessible, responsive EoLC referral pathways. Abstract published with permission.
    • A national survey of ambulance paramedics on the identification of patients with end of life care needs

      Eaton-Williams, Peter; Barrett, Jack; Mortimer, Craig; Williams, Julia (2021-03)
      Developing the proactive identification of patients with end of life care (EoLC) needs within ambulance paramedic clinical practice may improve access to care for patients not benefitting from EoLC services at present. To inform development of this role, this study aims to assess whether ambulance paramedics currently identify EoLC patients, are aware of identification guidance and believe this role is appropriate for their practice. Abstract published with permission.
    • A survey of ambulance clinicians’ perceptions of recording and communicating patient information electronically

      Barrett, Jack; Eaton-Williams, Peter; Mortimer, Craig; Land, Victoria; Williams, Julia (2021-06-01)
      Objective: Ambulance services are evolving from use of paper-based recording of patient information to electronic platforms and the impact of this change has yet to be fully explored. The aim of this study is to explore how the introduction of a system permitting electronic information capture and its subsequent sharing were perceived by the ambulance clinicians using it. Methods: An online questionnaire was designed based upon the technology acceptance model and distributed throughout one ambulance service in the south east of England. Closed-ended questions with Likert scales were used to collect data from patient-facing staff who use an online community falls and diabetic referral platform or an electronic messaging system to update GPs following a patient encounter. Results: There were 273 responses from ambulance clinicians. Most participants agreed that they used tablet computers and smartphones to make their life easier (85% and 86%, respectively). Most participants felt that referring patients to a community falls or diabetic team electronically was an efficient use of their time (81% and 81%, respectively) and many believed that these systems improved the communication of confidential patient information. GP summaries were perceived as increasing time spent on scene but most participants (89%) believed they enabled collaborative working. Overall, collecting and sharing patient information electronically was perceived by most participants as beneficial to their practice. Conclusion: In this study, the ability to electronically refer patients to community services and share patient encounters with the GP was predominantly perceived as both safe for patients and an effective use of the participants’ clinical time. However, there is often still a need to communicate to GPs in real time, demonstrating that technology could complement, rather than replace, how clinicians communicate. Abstract published with permission.