Prehospital intravenous cannulation: reducing the risks and rate from inappropriate venous access by paramedics
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KeywordEmergency Medical Services
Journal titleEmergency Medicine Journal
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractBackground Prehospital intravenous (IV) cannulation by paramedics is a key intervention which enables administration of fluids and drugs in the prehospital setting. Inappropriate use and poor technique of IV cannulation carry potential risks for patients such as pain and infection. Cannulation rates vary widely between paramedics and ambulance stations and rates have increased over the past decade. A baseline audit carried out in Lincolnshire division of East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) in 2006 found that paramedics cannulated 14.2% of transported patients and cannulation rates varied considerably between ambulance stations, with a mean rate of 13.4% (range 5.8% to 19%). An estimated 15.6% of these cannulations could have been avoided. Objective This evaluation was aimed at investigating the effect of a complex educational intervention to reduce the rate of cannulation and improve cannulation technique in EMAS NHS Trust which provides emergency and unscheduled care in six counties of the UK. Method A non-randomised control group (before and after) design was used to evaluate the effect of the educational intervention. Two geographical areas of EMAS were involved in the study; an intervention area (Nottinghamshire) was compared with a control area (Lincolnshire). The educational intervention was based on current guidance (JRCALC) and delivered to paramedic team leaders who cascaded it to their teams. Comparisons between the areas were made by analysing cannulation rates 2 months before and after intervention. Paramedics, 50 in each group, were assessed on technique, appropriateness and attitude towards cannulation. Results Preliminary results showed that there was a reduction in cannulation rates in the intervention area from 9.1% to 6.5% compared with an increase in the control area from 13.8 to 19.1%. Paramedics in the intervention group were significantly more likely to use correct consent and hand washing techniques following the intervention. https://emj.bmj.com/content/26/10/1.2. 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. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emj.2009.075432a