• Asthma, infection and the World Anti-Doping Agency: a case study

      Thom, David (2017-05)
      Abstract published with permission. Paramedics are now encountering ever more complex medical situations, and are expected to formulate holistic management plans. This case provides an interesting scenario whereby management was considered not only in conjunction with current evidence and guidelines but also with patient preference. This article will explore the assessment and management of a patient presenting with asthma and a chest infection whilst considering legal, ethical and professional factors.
    • Cooling of thermal burn injuries: a literature review

      Ashman, Harriet (2018-05)
      Abstract published with permission. Correct initial management of thermal burns is key in promoting patient outcomes. Cooling burns with cool running water (CRW) for 20 minutes has been shown to accelerate the wound healing process, improve cosmetic outcomes and prevent burn progression. This literature review aims to increase understanding of this simple first aid (FA) intervention, help inform paramedic practice, and determine areas for further research. Three themes came to light following systematic searching of the available literature. As a result of a paucity in evidence, a wide range of topics relating to cooling burns have been explored. The topics look at how patients and carers may approach FA in burns, how prehospital practitioners currently manage burns patients, and the best methods to use for cooling burns. Findings suggest that there is need for improved education for the lay public and pre-hospital providers in order to improve burn outcomes through FA interventions. While CRW is supported as a beneficial intervention, further research is required into alternative cooling methods to enhance care and evidence-based practice.
    • A critical review of NICE Guideline 39—major trauma: assessment and initial management

      Hodkinson, Mark (2016-05)
      Abstract published with permission. Major trauma is a leading cause of death in the under 40 years age group, and has a significant impact on morbidity, causing a financial burden to the National Health Service (National Audit Office, 2010). A recent guideline published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE, 2016a) seeks to address the recommendations made by a National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (2007) and the National Audit Office (2010), therefore improving the standards of trauma care delivery across England. This article critically appraises the recommendations made by NICE (2016a), while considering the available evidence and the implications on pre-hospital major trauma care.
    • Defibrillation: standard vs. double sequential in adult out-of-hospital cardiac arrest

      Stevenson, Laura (2018-02)
      Abstract published with permission. Background: Refractory ventricular fibrillation (RVF) in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) poses a significant challenge to paramedic teams and is further confounded by an absence of specific guidance on the management of this patient category. Objective: To conduct a systematic literature review to determine whether double sequential defibrillation (DSD) improves patient outcomes in adult OHCA. Methods: Electronic searches of CINAHL, MEDLINE and AMED databases were carried out, using EBSCOhost (2017) and a subsequent filtering process. Results: Three case series and two cohort studies provided the highest category of evidence to evaluate. DSD is offered as a potentially feasible RVF treatment strategy throughout. However, results are consistently limited by varying protocol and small study groups and DSD success is likely multifactorial. Conclusion: The current systematic literature review indicated that no confirmed association existed between DSD and improved OHCA outcomes. More robust research is required to eliminate profound limitations and consider contributing factors to DSD.
    • 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.
    • Fit to practise: does more need to be done to improve the health and wellbeing of paramedics?

      Barrett, Jack (2016-10)
      Abstract published with permission. Paramedics are exposed to both physiological and psychological stressors that the general population does not typically face. Although there is evidence to show that paramedics can be resilient to these, cardiovascular disease, mental health problems and musculoskeletal injuries are still prevalent among paramedics. Exercise has been shown to reduce the physical demands of lifting for paramedics, but data on the effects in other areas of paramedic life are limited. In the general population, exercise is becoming a popular treatment option for mental health problems. However, the methodologies used are inconsistent and it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions from the data available. A more thorough examination of how regular exercise could positively impact the health and well-being of paramedics, who are key, front-line personnel in the medical services, is an area that requires crucial further research.
    • The impact of paramedic shift work on the family system: a literature review

      Anderson, Lucy (2019-08-07)
      Aim: The current review investigates the impacts of paramedic work on the family system. Paramedics are taking time off or leaving through stress, and career decisions could be influenced by this perceived impact. Method: A systematic literature review was conducted and the literature critiqued. Two themes were identified: emotional labour and work-family fit. Results: Paramedics rely on families for emotional support, putting them at risk of vicarious trauma. The historical male coping culture of paramedic practice deters processing at work, detrimentally carrying this processing into the home environment. Additionally, several shift characteristics contribute to work-family conflict, child-rearing conflict and difficulties maintaining a social life. Conclusions: Key organisational culture change is needed from denigrating staff for showing emotions and struggling to find work-life balance, to one that improves experiences at work and therefore at home as well. Recent movement towards almost equal gender balance may present a particular opportunity to deliver culture change. Further research is required to better understand the impact that shift work has on the family. Abstract published with permission.
    • Independent prescribing: a journey to provide the best possible care

      Sharman, Andy (2015-05)
      Abstract published with permission. Many patients benefit, and will continue to benefit, as a result of paramedics being able to administer medicines under standards set by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, regarding the use of patient group directions (PGDs), patient specific directions (PSDs) and exemptions. It is not uncommon, however, for these mechanisms to prove ineffective. This can result in delays for patients receiving the care that is best suited to their individual needs. This article looks at how independent prescribing by paramedics would allow patients to receive the care and medicines they need, resulting in a far greater number of patients benefiting from improved and more timely care and greater convenience.
    • Intra-cardiac arrest thrombolysis in the pre-hospital setting: four cases worth considering

      Hitt, Andy; Pateman, Jane (2015-01)
      Abstract published with permission. Background: It has been estimated that over 400 000 people have an outof-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) annually in the United States and Europe combined, of whom fewer than 10% survive to hospital discharge. In up to 70% of cases OHCA is caused by underlying acute coronary disease or pulmonary embolism, and as such the benefits of thrombolytic therapy during resuscitation attempts have been explored without there being a clear conclusion. This paper presents a case series of four victims of OHCA who received thrombolysis, with adjunctive antithrombotic therapy, in the pre-hospital phase of their treatment. Three of these were attended by a critical care paramedic (CCP)—a paramedic with advanced training in emergency care—who received online physician support. The other victim was attended by paramedics and a physician who is experienced in pre-hospital emergency care. Discussion: Although there is much debate about the efficacy of routine administration of thrombolytic therapy during OHCA, cases such as those featured in this paper indicate a need for clinicians to consider the merits of prehospital thrombolysis (PHT) based on individual patient characteristics and the circumstances leading to their presenting condition. Conclusions: Lives can be saved with the timely administration of intra-arrest PHT but candidates should be selected with great care. This may be best delivered in systems where clinicians at scene are supported by expert medical advice, allowing clinicians to recognise and treat this small but important group of survivors.
    • Intranasal and buccal midazolam in the pre-hospital management of epileptic tonic-clonic seizures

      Thom, David (2014-08)
      Abstract published with permission. Epilepsy is a common neurological condition causing seizures or convulsions. This article looks to analyse the treatment and management of a patient suffering from a prolonged epileptic tonic-clonic seizure by the administration of two common benzodiazepines: midazolam and diazepam. Epileptic seizures carry high risks of secondary injury and the potential for long-term neurological damage; therefore, it is imperative that paramedics can provide swift and effective treatment for these patients. With current advances in pre-hospital care, paramedics should be aware of the latest advances in techniques, management and the associated legal issues. This article will look specifically at the administration of benzodiazepines and in particular the comparison between midazolam and diazepam and the routes of administration available.
    • Oxygen titration therapy and hypercapnia risk in COPD

      Harding, Cecily; Hart, Lindsay (2019-09-11)
      Background: Estimated to be the third leading cause of death in the UK by 2030, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common presenting complaint requiring an emergency ambulance. It is recognised that patients with COPD are at high risk of developing hypercapnia with the main theory of causality being high-flow oxygen therapy. Therefore, current guidelines recommend titrating oxygen therapy to maintain oxygen saturation percentage (SpO2) of 88–92% to reduce this risk. Aim: The aim of this review is to analyse literature concerning oxygen therapy in patients with COPD and their potential risk of hypercapnia. Methods: Extensive literature searches with strict parameters were carried out in electronic databases. After filtration of results, eight core articles were selected for analysis, from which three themes were identified as particular topics of interest. Findings: Critical analysis of the core articles confirmed the increased risk of hypercapnia in patients with COPD, but it is unclear if the cause is high-flow oxygen therapy, rate of alveolar ventilation or a specific COPD phenotype. Conclusion: Methods of reducing hypercapnia are limited in the prehospital setting with the only method transferable to paramedic practice being air nebulisation. Clinical compliance with study protocols and current national guidelines is low, both in prehospital and in-hospital environments. Abstract published with permission.
    • Paramedic management of shock in trauma: unlocking the potential

      Hitt, Andy (2010-08)
      Globally, traumatic injury is a leading cause of death for patients under 45 years old. A consequence of serious or poorly managed trauma is shock—a clinical syndrome that is both preventable and treatable if spotted in time. Heightened pathophysiological awareness and a review of diagnostic methods may promote early circulatory support rather than aggressive resuscitation. This could reduce the risk of iatrogenic complications and avoid unnecessary delay. The aim of this article is to critically appraise the treatment options currently available to UK paramedics and postulate realistic improvements based on underlying pathophysiology. Abstract published with permission.
    • Patient assessment: a reflective case study

      Hitt, Andy (2009-12-18)
      The three ‘C's of physical assessment—capacity, consent and communication—could be compared to the ‘ABCs' of resuscitation; without all three you will make very little, if any, progress. But do we give these aspects the attention they deserve, especially in time critical situations? This case study is based on a 76-year-old female who presented at Accident and Emergency (A&E) with central chest pain, diarrhoea and vomiting, productive cough and pyrexia. The aims of this case study are to discuss the impact of 21st century legislation on patient assessment, demonstrate the importance of objective, structured history taken and investigate the subjective nature of physical examination. In a world of waiting lists and litigation some argue that we should let technology do the leg work—ultrasound, chest x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT)—why use a stethoscope? Abstract published with permission.
    • Patient confidentiality and safety: a classic conundrum

      Vigar, Paul (2017-05)
      Abstract published with permission. Paramedics frequently have to balance patient confidentiality and patient safety. Patient information is subject to legal, ethical and professional obligations of confidentiality and should not be disclosed to a third party for reasons other than healthcare, without consent. Whilst there is an imperative to preserve the professional/patient relationship, there are occasions where this is not possible. This article considers circumstances when confidential patient information may be disclosed without the consent of the patient and discusses the legal, ethical and professional aspects of decision making in this context. A clinical example from practice is presented where an ambulance crew was called to a 50-year-old man with type I diabetes, which is normally well controlled with insulin. He is employed as a van driver, but has experienced two sudden hypoglycaemic episodes in 3 weeks rendering him unconscious. Once treated, he declines transport to hospital, any onward referral or to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) through fear of having his driving licence suspended.