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PP53 A qualitative study of ambulance personnel, care staff and service users’ experiences and perceptions of emergency care in care homes
  1. Despina Laparidou1,
  2. Viet-Hai Phung1,
  3. Ffion Curtis2,
  4. Gregory Whitley1,3,
  5. Vanessa Botan4,
  6. Joseph Akanuwe1,
  7. Elise Rowan1,
  8. Rachael Fothergill5,
  9. Tracy McCranor5,
  10. Susan Bowler1,
  11. Maria Kordowicz6,
  12. Nicoya Palastanga7,
  13. Lissie Wilkins7,
  14. Robert Spaight3,
  15. Elizabeth Miller3,
  16. Adam L Gordon6,
  17. Graham Law1,
  18. Aloysius Niroshan Siriwardena1
  1. 1University of Lincoln, UK
  2. 2University of Leicester, UK
  3. 3East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Lincoln, UK
  4. 4Nottingham Trent University, UK
  5. 5Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Lincoln, UK
  6. 6University of Nottingham, UK
  7. 7Patient and Public Contributor, Lincoln, UK


Background Medical emergencies in care homes are common and costly, often resulting in calls to emergency services, ambulance attendance, conveyance, and hospital admissions. Over half of emergency transfers to hospital could be prevented with better ongoing care, access to primary care and training of staff. Our aim was to explore ambulance staff experiences of emergencies in care homes.

Methods We employed a qualitative design. The study involved semi-structured interviews with ambulance staff working at the East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Data were analysed thematically using a framework approach.

Results We interviewed 15 ambulance staff (including paramedics, technicians, urgent care assistants). Preliminary analysis showed that although good communication with care home staff was considered important, experiences were varied. The importance of good, adequate resident information ready for ambulance staff upon arrival was highlighted. Regarding the decision-making process, participants reported consulting with everyone involved (care home staff, residents, relatives) and making final decisions based on various factors, including the resident/their family’s wishes, medical history, ReSPECT forms, alternative pathways to A&E, and what they considered the most appropriate course of action for the resident. Care home-related factors (access/egress issues; staff training; policies and procedures; and overall quality of care) and Emergency Medical Services-related factors (current pressures on the service; better training needed on working with people with dementia, end-of-life care, etc.; having access to an on-call geriatrician), which impact those who experience emergencies in care homes, were also discussed.

Conclusion This study highlights the main challenges and facilitators that ambulance staff are faced with when dealing with emergencies in care homes. These data present findings of one staff group and triangulation with care home staff, resident and family perspectives would generate further insights. The findings will inform the development of interventions to improve outcomes and experiences of emergencies in care homes.

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