• 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
    • Does a paramedic practitioner self-tasking dispatch model benefit their self-sufficiency in patient management? A cross sectional study

      Cotterill, Liam; Halter, Mary (2020-10)
      Paramedic Practitioner (PP) scope of practice is not comprehensively understood by Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) staff and tasking may be suboptimal. In one UK ambulance trust in November 2018, one PP team was enabled to remotely monitor live incidents and, alongside some continued EOC-dispatch, to self-task to incidents they judged would benefit from their additional knowledge and skills. Evidence on self-tasking benefit was found from helicopter emergency services only. https://emj.bmj.com/content/37/10/e11.2 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. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2020-999abs.24
    • Emergency medical dispatch: do the dead take priority over the dying?

      Hitt, Andy; Williams, Julia; Edwards, Timothy (2015-05)
      Background In the UK demand for emergency ambulances is increasing. To deal with this increase, Ambulance Service Trusts must use resources effectively and ensure that they are deployed appropriately. Aim The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of factors in fluencing resource dispatchers ’ (RD) decision-making processes when managing ambulance resources attending out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OOHCA) and how these decisions might impact on resource availability. Method Utilising a generic qualitative approach, nine RDs participated in semi structured interviews which were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data analysis was performed using a template style of thematic analysis. Findings OOHCA generally takes priority over other emergency calls regardless of clinical need or likely prognosis. Participants stated that they would probably drive past a critically ill patient to attend a patient in cardiac arrest even if they believed them to be beyond help. A significant amount of time was spent dealing with deceased patients, especially when waiting for police to attend. This may affect resource availability and subsequently delay treatment of other critically ill and injured patients. Limitations Dispatching processes may differ between Trusts so further studies are required to enhance transferability of findings. Conclusions OOHCA is almost always prioritised above other time critical emergencies despite the view that other patients may bene fit more from a priority response. Decisions are made rapidly, under pressure and with very little clinical information to hand. Recommendations for change Further research is required before substantive recommendations can be made but preliminary indications infer that resource efficiency may be improved by applying simple changes to every day practice including dialogue between lead clinician and dispatcher to optimise staff skill mix in attendance to calls and improved liaison between police and ambulance controls to facilitate the prompt stand down of ambulance resources dealing with deceased patients. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/32/5/e4.3.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-2015-204880.12
    • Impact of videolaryngoscopy introduction into prehospital emergency medicine practice: a quality improvement project.

      Steel, Alistair; Haldane, Charlotte; Cody, Dan (2021-02-15)
      Advanced airway management is necessary in the prehospital environment and difficult airways occur more commonly in this setting. Failed intubation is closely associated with the most devastating complications of airway management. In an attempt to improve the safety and success of tracheal intubation, we implemented videolaryngoscopy (VL) as our first-line device for tracheal intubation within a UK prehospital emergency medicine (PHEM) setting. https://emj.bmj.com/content/early/2021/02/14/emermed-2020-209944 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. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2020-209944
    • Perceived areas for future intervention and research addressing conveyance decisions and potential threats to patient safety: stakeholder workshops

      O'Hara, Rachel; Johnson, Maxine; Hirst, Enid; Weyman, Andrew; Shaw, Deborah; Mortimer, Peter; Newman, Chris; Storey, Matthew; Turner, Janette; Mason, Suzanne; et al. (2016-09)
      Background As part of a study examining systemic influences on conveyance decisions by paramedics and potential threats to patient safety, stakeholder workshops were conducted with three Ambulance Service Trusts in England. The study identified seven overarching systemic influences: demand; priorities; access to care; risk tolerance; training, communication and resources. The aim of the workshops was to elicit feedback on the findings and identify perceived areas for future intervention and research. Attendees were also asked to rank the seven threats to patient safety in terms of their perceived importance for future attention. Methods A total of 45 individuals attended across all the workshops, 28 ambulance service staff and 17 service user representatives. Discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed. A paper based paired comparison approach was used to produce an ordinal ranking to illustrate the relative prioritisation of issues. Analysis included testing for internal consistency and between-rater agreement for this relatively small sample. Findings The two highest ranking priorities were training and development, as well as access to care. The areas for intervention identified represent what attendees perceived as feasible to undertake and relate to: care options; cross boundary working; managing demand; staff development; information and feedback; and commissioning decisions. Perceived areas for research specifically address conveyance decisions and potential threats to patient safety. 17 areas for research were proposed that directly relate to six of the systemic threats to patient safety. Conclusions Feedback workshops were effective in the validation of findings as well as providing an opportunity to identify priorities for future interventions and research. They also facilitated discussion between a variety of Ambulance Service staff and service user representatives. Ongoing collaboration between members of the research team has enabled some of the research recommendations to be explored as part of a mutually agreed research agenda. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/33/9/e7.3.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-2016-206139.25
    • PP19 Use and impact of the pre-hospital 12-lead electrocardiogram in the primary PCI era (PHECG2): mixed methods study protocol

      Munro, Scott; Gavalova, Lucia; Halter, Mary; Snooks, Helen; Gale, Chris P.; Weston, Clive; Watkins, Alan; Davies, Glenn; Hampton, Chelsey; Driscoll, Timothy; et al. (2019-09-24)
      Background The pre-hospital 12-lead electrocardiogram (PHECG) is recommended in patients presenting to emergency medical services (EMS) with suspected acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Prior research found PHECG was associated with improved 30-day survival, but a third of ACS patients under EMS care did not have PHECG. Such patients tended to be female, older and/or with comorbidities. This previous study was undertaken when thrombolytic treatment was the main treatment for ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI); practice has since shifted to a predominant interventional strategy – primary percutaneous coronary intervention (pPCI). Moreover, the previous study relied solely on data collected by the Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project (MINAP), which does not include information on symptoms, EMS personnel gender, and other factors that may influence decision-making. The PHECG2 study addresses the following research questions: a) Is there a difference in 30-day mortality and reperfusion between those who do and do not receive PHECG? b) Has the proportion of eligible patients who receive PHECG changed since the introduction of pPCI networks? c) Are patients that receive PHECG different from those that do not in social and demographic factors, and in pre-hospital clinical presentation? d) What factors do EMS clinicians report as influencing their decision to perform PHECG? Methods Explanatory sequential Quan-Qual mixed methods study comprising 4 Work Packages (WPs): WP1 a population based, linked data analysis of MINAP from 2010–2017 (n=510,000); WP2 retrospective chart review of EMS records from 3 EMS; WP3 focus groups with personnel from 3 EMS. WP4 will synthesise findings from WP1-3. Conclusions Gaining an understanding into the clinical and non-clinical factors influencing EMS clinicians’ decisions to record PHECG will enable us to develop (and later test through a randomised trial) an intervention to improve PHECG uptake and patient outcomes following an ACS event., https://emj.bmj.com/content/36/10/e9.1. 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/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2019-999abs.19
    • Stocklist — a study of clinical skills of critical care paramedics in the UK

      Walmsley, Jim; Turner, Janette (2015-05)
      Introduction The Critical Care Paramedic (CCP) is a relatively new advanced practitioner. CCPs provide advanced clinical skills, knowledge and expertise for primary response and critical care retrieval and transfer. In the UK it is currently an undefined role with no common code of practice, clinical governance or national guidance. The aim of this study was to explore the current use of CCPs and assess the views of a range of stakeholders on the required skills and role development within a British context. Methods A web based survey design was used to collect information on CCP use and views on skills, role and scope of practice. The survey asked questions on current or intended use of CCPs and skills used. Respondents were asked to rate a list of 23 clinical skills on whether they were essential, desirable or irrelevant; importance of a set of standards and statements about the role of CCPs in the ambulance service. Stakeholders approached included ambulance services, professional bodies, charitable organisations and academic departments. Results From 198 invitations there were 141 responses (70%) and 70% were from ambulance trusts. Half of responders said they currently used CCPs. The top 5 essential skills were concerned with airway management. Views on core standards and the CCP role are summarised in the table. Conclusions The survey confirmed the CCP role is currently undefined and used variably in practice. There was agreement on the need for core skills and standards but the nature of these is still a matter for debate. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/32/5/e5.1.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-2015-204880.13
    • The view from the Ebola Treatment Centre, Makeni, central Sierra Leone.

      Barnes, Solomon; Hussain, Nageena; Hogan, Julia; Logan, Victoria; Wardrope, Jim (2015-07)
    • ‘You're never making just one decision’: exploring the lived experiences of ambulance Emergency Operations Centre personnel

      Coxon, Astrid; Cropley, Mark; Schofield, Pat; Start, Kath; Horsfield, Claire; Quinn, Tom (2016-09)
      Background The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of ambulance dispatch personnel, identifying key stressors and their impact on staff well-being. Methods Qualitative methodology was used. Nine semistructured interviews were conducted with National Health Service (NHS) ambulance Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) dispatch personnel in the UK between July and August 2014. Participants were asked about their experiences of the role, stress experienced and current strategies they use to deal with stress. Transcripts were analysed using an inductive, bottom-up thematic analysis. Results Three key themes were identified: (1) ‘How dispatch is perceived by others’, (2) ‘What dispatch really involves’ and (3) ‘Dealing with the stresses of dispatch’. All participants expressed pride in their work, but felt overloaded by the workload and undervalued by others. Several sources of additional stress, not directly related to the execution of their work, were identified, including the need to mentally unwind from work at the end of a shift. Participants were able to identify a number of ways in which they currently manage work-related stress, but they also suggested changes the organisation could put in place in order to reduce stress in the working environment. Conclusions Building on existing theory on work stress and postwork recovery, it was concluded that EOC dispatch staff require greater support at work, including skills training to promote postshift recovery, in order to reduce the likelihood of sickness absence, and prevent work-related fatigue. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/33/9/645.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-2015-204841