• 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.