Introduction: The Department of Health document Reforming emergency care stated that new initiatives need to be developed to improve the care and assessment of patients. The Audit Commission has suggested that ambulance services should be allowed to decide who should be sent to each type of emergency and treat some patients at home.
Aims: This scheme explores a new way of providing clinical assessment of older patients in their homes or in care homes within Sheffield. It sets out to provide a very patient centred model of care by providing community based clinical assessment for patients presenting to the emergency services with minor acute conditions.
Scope, development, and structure of scheme: The scheme trains paramedic practitioners in the assessment and treatment of minor conditions to emergency nurse practitioner level. It consists of a three week full time theory based course and a 45 day period of supervised clinical practice based in the emergency department, minor injury unit, care of the elderly falls clinic, and with community services. Subsequently, the competence of the practitioners is assessed.
Service delivery: The service will be activated by a 999 call between 0800 to 2000 each day. It is anticipated that between 25% to 50% of patients eligible to receive the service will be assessed and treated within the home. This approach to providing emergency care is untested and the frequency of use, patient acceptability, safety, and cost effectiveness are unknown, therefore rigorous assessment is essential through a randomised controlled trial.
- community care
- minor conditions
- elderly population
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