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OP08 A feasibility cluster randomised controlled trial of a paramedic-administered breathlessness management intervention for acute-on-chronic breathlessness (BREATHE): study findings
  1. Ann Hutchinson1,
  2. Victoria Allgar2,
  3. Judith Cohen1,
  4. David Currow3,
  5. Susan Griffin2,
  6. Simon Hart1,
  7. Andrew Hodge4,
  8. Suzanne Mason5,
  9. Matthew Northgraves1,
  10. Joanne Reeve1,
  11. Flavia Swan1,
  12. Miriam Johnson1
  1. 1University of Hull, UK
  2. 2University of York, UK
  3. 3University of Technology Sydney, Australia
  4. 4Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, UK
  5. 5University of Sheffield, UK


Background One-fifth of conveyances to the emergency department (ED) are due to acute-on-chronic breathlessness. Paramedic breathlessness management may ease distress quicker and/or reduce ED conveyances. We evaluated the feasibility of a full trial of a paramedic delivered intervention to reduce avoidable conveyances (recruitment, randomisation, consent, training and intervention acceptability, adherence, data quality, best primary outcome, sample size estimation). The intervention comprised evidence-based non-drug techniques and a self-management booklet.

Methods This mixed-methods feasibility cluster randomised controlled trial (ISRCTN80330546) with embedded qualitative study about trial processes, training and intervention delivery, randomised paramedics to usual care or to intervention+usual care. Retrospective patient consent to use call-out data and prospective patient/carer consent for follow-up was sought. Potential primary outcomes were breathlessness intensity (numerical rating scale) and ED conveyance. Follow-up included an interview for patients/carers and questionnaires at 14 days, 1 and 6 months and paramedic focus groups and survey.

Results Recruitment was during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to high demands on paramedics and fewer call-outs by eligible patients. We enrolled 29 paramedics; 9 withdrew. Randomisation/trial procedures were acceptable. Paramedics recruited 13 patients; 8 were followed up. Data quality was good. The intervention did not extend call-out time, was delivered with fidelity and no contamination and was acceptable to patients, carers, and paramedics. There were no repeat call-outs < 48 hours. Recruitment stop-go criteria were not met. We had insufficient data for sample size estimation.

Conclusions A full trial in the same circumstances is not feasible. However, valuable information was gained on recruitment, attrition, consent, training and intervention acceptability and adherence, and patient-reported data collection.

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