To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Paramedics commonly administer intravenous (IV) dextrose to severely hypoglycemic patients. Typically, the treatment provided is a 25g ampule of 50% dextrose (D50). This dose of D50 is meant to ensure a return to consciousness. However, this dose may cause harm and lead to difficulties regulating blood glucose levels (BGLs) post-treatment. It is hypothesized that a lower concentration, such as 10% dextrose (D10), may improve symptoms while minimizing harm.
PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and Cochrane Central were systematically searched on September 15, 2020. The PRISMA guidelines were followed. GRADE and risk of bias were applied to determine the certainty of the evidence. Primary literature investigating the use of IV dextrose in hypoglycemic diabetic patients presenting to paramedics or the emergency department was included. Outcomes of interest included safety, efficacy (symptom resolution), and BGL.
Of 680 abstracts screened, 51 full-text articles were reviewed, with eleven studies included. Data from three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and eight observational studies were analyzed. A single RCT comparing D10 to D50 was identified. The primary significant finding of the study was an increased post-treatment glycemic profile by 3.2mmol/L in the D50 group; no other outcomes had significant differences between groups. When comparing pooled data from all the included studies, there was greater symptom resolution in the D10 group (95.9%) compared to the D50 group (88.8%). However, the mean time to resolution was approximately four minutes longer in the D10 group (4.1 minutes [D50] versus 8.0 minutes [D10]). There was a greater need for subsequent doses with the use of D10 (19.5%) compared to D50 (8.1%). The post-treatment glycemic profile was lower in the D10 group at 6.2mmol/L versus 8.5mmol/L in the D50 group. Both treatments had nearly complete resolution of hypoglycemia: 98.7% (D50) and 99.2% (D10). No adverse events were observed in the D10 group (0/1057) compared to 13/310 adverse events in the D50 group.
Studies show D10 may be as effective as D50 at resolving symptoms and correcting hypoglycemia. Although the desired effect can take several minutes longer, there appear to be fewer adverse events. The post-D10-treatment BGL may result in fewer untoward hyperglycemic episodes.
Fibrinolysis is an acceptable treatment for acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) when primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) cannot be performed within 120 minutes. The American Heart Association has recommended Emergency Medical Services (EMS) interventions such as prehospital fibrinolysis (PHF), prehospital electrocardiogram (ECG), and hospital bypass direct to PCI center. Nova Scotia, Canada has incorporated these interventions into a unique province-wide approach to STEMI care. A retrospective cohort analysis comparing the primary outcome of 30-day mortality for patients receiving either prehospital or emergency department (ED) fibrinolysis (EDF) to patients transported directly by EMS from community or regional ED for primary PCI was conducted.
This retrospective, population-based cohort study included all STEMI patients in Nova Scotia who survived to hospital admission from July 2011 through July 2013. Three provincial databases were used to collect demographic, 30-day mortality, hospital readmission, and rescue PCI data. The results were grouped and compared according to reperfusion strategy received: PHF, EDF, patients brought by ambulance via EMS direct to PCI (EMS to PCI), and ED to PCI (ED to PCI).
There were 1,071 STEMI patients included with 145 PHF, 606 EDF, 98 EMS to PCI, and 222 ED to PCI. There were no significant differences in 30-day mortality across groups (n, %): PHF 5(3); EDF 36(6); EHS to PCI <5(2); and ED to PCI 10(4); P = .28. There was no significant difference in patients receiving fibrinolysis who underwent rescue PCI.
Prehospital fibrinolysis incorporated into a province-wide approach to STEMI treatment is feasible with no observed difference in patient 30-day mortality outcomes observed.
Paramedics Providing Palliative Care at Home was launched in two provinces, including a new clinical practice guideline, database, and paramedic training. The aim of this study was to evaluate patient/family satisfaction and paramedic comfort and confidence.
In Part A, we gathered perspectives of patients/families via surveys mailed at enrolment and telephone interviews after an encounter. Responses were reported descriptively and by thematic analysis. In Part B, we surveyed paramedics online pre- and 18 months post-launch. Comfort and confidence were scored on a 4-point Likert scale, and attitudes on a 7-point Likert scale, reported as the median (interquartile range [IQR]); analysis with Wilcoxon ranked sum/thematic analysis of free text.
In Part A, 67/255 (30%) enrolment surveys were returned. Three themes emerged: fulfilling wishes, peace of mind, and feeling prepared for emergencies. In 18 post-encounter interviews, four themes emerged: 24/7 availability, paramedic professionalism and compassion, symptom relief, and a plea for program continuation. Thematic saturation was reached with little divergence. In Part B, 235/1255 (18.9%) pre- and 267 (21.3%) post-surveys were completed. Comfort with providing palliative care without transport improved post launch (p = < 0.001) as did confidence in palliative care without transport (p = < 0.001). Respondents strongly agreed that all paramedics should be able to provide basic palliative care.
After implementation of the multifaceted Paramedics Providing Palliative Care at Home Program, paramedics describe palliative care as important and rewarding. The program resulted in high patient/family satisfaction; simply registering provides peace of mind. After an encounter, families particularly noted the compassion and professionalism of the paramedics.
The Collaborative Emergency Centre (CEC) model of care was implemented in Nova Scotia without an identifiable, directly comparable precedent. It features interprofessional teams working towards the goal of providing improved access to primary health care, and appropriate access to 24/7 emergency care. One important component of CEC functioning is overnight staffing by a paramedic and registered nurse (RN) team consulting with an off-site physician. Our objective was to ascertain the attitudes, feelings and experiences of paramedics working within Nova Scotia’s CECs.
We conducted a qualitative study informed by the principles of grounded theory. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with paramedics with experience working in a CEC. Analysis involved an inductive grounded approach using constant comparative analysis. Data collection and analysis continued until thematic saturation was reached.
Fourteen paramedics participated in the study. The majority were male (n=10, 71%) with a mean age of 44 years and mean paramedic experience of 14 years. Four major themes were identified: 1) interprofessional relationships, 2) leadership support, 3) value to community and 4) paramedic identity.
Paramedics report largely positive interprofessional relationships in Nova Scotia’s CECs. They expressed enjoyment working in these centres and believe this work aligns with their professional identity. High levels of patient and community satisfaction were reported. Paramedics believe future expansion of the model would benefit from development of continuing education and improved communication between leadership and front-line workers.
Studies suggest that addressing the needs of the older population in rural areas may substantially reduce their low-urgency use of emergency medical services (LUEMS). It may ultimately also help improve the efficiency in our health system. There is, however, a dearth of evidence substantiating geographic patterns in LUEMS by different age cohorts. This exploratory study was aimed to clarify the understanding of emergency medical services (EMS) use in Nova Scotia through a geographic analysis.
Records with Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale of 4 and 5 were considered as LUEMS. We assessed the distribution of LUEMS incidence rates (proportion of LUEMS out of all EMS uses) by age and rurality, using descriptive statistics and Geographic Information Systems mapping.
Nearly half of all EMS transports were individuals of 65+ years of age; 35% of those were LUEMS. The rates increased along with the level of rurality, and the older cohort had the highest incidence rates in non-metro communities. High rates were seen primarily in some rural communities farthest away from the capital/tertiary care centre.
High LUEMS incidence rates are rural phenomena but not specific to the older population. However, the absolute number of LUEMS by the older cohort is significant, and elder-specific interventions in rural regions could still lead to effective cost savings. Further investigation of other factors, such as distance to the emergency department, availability of public transportation, and socioeconomic conditions of EMS users, is needed.
Offload delay is a prolonged interval between ambulance arrival in the emergency department (ED) and transfer of patient care, typically occurring when EDs are crowded. The offload zone (OZ), which manages ambulance patients waiting for an ED bed, has been implemented to mitigate the impact of ED crowding on ambulance availability. Little is known about the safety or efficiency. The study objectives were to process map the OZ and conduct a hazard analysis to identify steps that could compromise patient safety or process efficiency.
A Health Care Failure Mode and Effect Analysis was conducted. Failure modes (FM) were identified. For each FM, a probability to occur and severity of impact on patient safety and process efficiency was determined, and a hazard score (probability X severity) was calculated. For any hazard score considered high risk, root causes were identified, and mitigations were sought.
The OZ consists of six major processes: 1) patient transported by ambulance, 2) arrival to the ED, 3) transfer of patient care, 4) patient assessment in OZ, 5) patient care in OZ, and 6) patient transfer out of OZ; 78 FM were identified, of which 28 (35.9%) were deemed high risk and classified as impact on patient safety (n=7/28, 25.0%), process efficiency (n=10/28, 35.7%), or both (n=11/28, 39.3%). Seventeen mitigations were suggested.
This process map and hazard analysis is a first step in understanding the safety and efficiency of the OZ. The results from this study will inform current policy and practice, and future work to reduce offload delay.
Societal aging is expected to impact the use of emergency medical services (EMS). Older adults are known as high users of EMS. Our primary objective was to quantify the rate of EMS use by older adults in a Canadian provincial EMS system. Our secondary objective was to compare those transported to those not transported.
We analysed data from a provincial EMS database for emergency responses between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010 and included all older adults (≥65 years) requesting EMS for an emergency call. We described EMS use in relation to age, sex, and resources.
There were 30,653 emergency responses for older adults in 2010, representing close to 50% of the emergency call volume and an overall response rate of 202.8 responses per 1,000 population 65 years and older. The mean age was 79.9±8.5 years for those 57.3% who were female. The median paramedic-determined Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) score was 3 and the mean on-scene time was 24.2 minutes. Non-transported calls (12.3%) for the elderly involved predominantly (54.9%) female patients of similar mean age (78.3 years) but lower acuity (CTAS 5) and longer average on-scene times (32.6 minutes).
We confirmed the increasingly high rate of EMS use with age to be consistent with other industrialized populations. The low-priority and non-transport calls by older adults consumed considerable resources in this provincial system and might be the areas most malleable to meet the challenges facing EMS systems.
Emergency medical services (EMS) programs, which provide an alternative to traditional EMS dispatch or transport to the emergency department (ED), are becoming widely implemented. This scoping review identified and catalogued all outcomes used to measure such alternative EMS programs.
Broad systematized bibliographic and grey literature searches were conducted.
Inclusion criteria were 911 callers/EMS patients, reported on alternatives to traditional EMS dispatch OR traditional EMS transport to the ED, and reported an outcome measure.
The reports were categorized as either alternative to dispatch or to EMS transport, and outcome measures were categorized and described.
The bibliographic search retrieved 13,215 records, of which 34 articles met the inclusion criteria, with an additional 10 added from reference list hand-searching (n=44 included). In the grey literature search, 31 websites were identified, from which four met criteria and were retrieved (n=4 included). Fifteen reports (16 studies) described alternatives to EMS dispatch, and 33 reports described alternatives to EMS transport. The most common outcomes reported in the alternatives to EMS dispatch reports were service utilization and decision accuracy. Twenty-four different specific outcomes were reported. The most common outcomes reported in the alternatives to EMS transport reports were service utilization and safety, and 50 different specific outcomes were reported.
Numerous outcome measures were identified in reports of alternative EMS programs, which were catalogued and described. Researchers and program leaders should achieve consensus on uniform outcome measures, to allow benchmarking and improve comparison across programs.
Long-term care (LTC) patients are often sent to emergency departments (EDs) by ambulance. In this novel extended care paramedic (ECP) program, specially trained paramedics manage LTC patients on site. The objective of this pilot study was to describe the dispatch and disposition of LTC patients treated by ECPs and emergency paramedics.
Data were collected from consecutive calls to 15 participating LTC facilities for 3 months. Dispatch determinants, transport rates, and relapse rates were described for LTC patients attended by ECPs or emergency paramedics. ECP involvement in end-of-life care was identified.
Of 238 eligible calls, 140 (59%) were attended by an ECP and 98 (41%) by emergency paramedics. Although the top three determinants were the same in each group, the overall distribution of dispatch determinants and acuity differed. In the ECP cohort, 98 of 140 (70%) were treated and released, 33 of 140 (24%) had “facilitated transfer” arranged by an ECP, and 9 of 140 (6%) were immediately transported to the ED by ambulance. In the emergency paramedic cohort, 77 of 98 (79%) were immediately transported to the ED and 21 of 98 (21%) were not transported. In the ECP group, 6 of 98 (6%) patients not transported triggered a 911 call within 48 hours for a related clinical reason, although none of the patients not transported by emergency paramedics relapsed.
ECP involvement in LTC calls was found to reduce transports to the ED with a low rate of relapse. These pilot data generated hypotheses for future study, including determination of appropriate populations for ECP care and analysis of appropriate and safe nontransport.
This study forms the first phase in the development of the Canadian National EMS Research Agenda. The purpose was to understand the current state of emergency medical services (EMS) research through the barriers and opportunities perceived by key stakeholders in the Canadian system and to identify the recommendations this group had for moving forward.
This qualitative study was conducted in the spring of 2011 using one-on-one semistructured telephone interviews. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit a cross section of EMS research stakeholders, representing a breadth of geographic regions and roles. Data were collected until thematic saturation was reached. A constant comparative approach was used to develop a basic coding framework and identify emerging themes.
Twenty stakeholders were invited to participate, and saturation was reached after 13 interviews. Thematic saturation was used to ensure that the findings were grounded in the data. Four major themes were identified: 1) the need for additional research education within EMS; 2) the importance of creating an infrastructure to support pan-Canadian research collaboration; 3) addressing the complexities of involving EMS providers in research; and 4) considerations for a national research agenda.
This hypothesis-generating study reveals key areas regarding EMS research in Canada and through the guidance it provides is a first step in the development of a comprehensive national research agenda. Our intention is to collate the identified themes with the results of a larger roundtable discussion and Delphi survey and, in doing so, guide development of a Canadian national EMS research agenda.
Research is essential for the development of evidence-based emergency medical services (EMS) systems of care. When resources are scarce and gaps in evidence are large, a national agenda may inform the growth of EMS research in Canada. This mixed methods consensus study explores current barriers and existing strengths within Canadian EMS research, provides recommendations, and suggests EMS topics for future study.
Purposeful sampling was employed to invite EMS research stakeholders from various roles across the country. Study phases consisted of 1) baseline interviews of a subsample, 2) roundtable discussion, and 3) an online Delphi survey, in which participants scored each statement for importance. Consensus was defined a priori and met if 80% scored a statement as “important” or “very important.”
Fifty-three stakeholders participated, representing researchers (37.7%), EMS administrators (24.6%), clinicians/ providers (20.7%), and educators (17.0%). Participation rates were as follows: interviews, 13 of 13 (100%); roundtable, 47 of 53 (89%); survey round 1, 50 of 53 (94%); survey round 2, 47 of 53 (89%); and survey round 3, 40 of 53 (75%). A total of 141 statements were identified as important: 20 barriers, 54 strengths/opportunities, 31 recommendations, and 36 suggested topics for future research. Like statements were synthesized, resulting in barriers (n 5 10), strengths/opportunities (n 5 24), and recommendations (n 5 19), which were categorized as time, opportunities, and funding; education and mentorship; culture of research and collaboration; structure, process, and outcome of research; EMS and paramedic practice; and the future of the EMS Research Agenda.
Consensus-based key messages from this agenda should be considered when designing, funding, and publishing EMS research and will advance EMS research locally, regionally, and nationally.
US emergency personnel cared for 106% more patients in 1990 than they did in 1980, and national emergency department census data show that 60%–80% of those patients presented with non-urgent or minor medical problems. The hiring of nurse practitioners (NPs) is one proposed solution to the ongoing overcrowding and physician shortage facing emergency departments (EDs).
We conducted a systematic review of MEDLINE and Cinahl to find articles that discussed NPs in the ED setting, looking specifically at 4 key outcome measures: wait times, patient satisfaction, quality of care and cost effectiveness.
Although some questions remain, a review of the literature suggests that NPs can reduce wait times for the ED, lead to high patient satisfaction and provide a quality of care equal to that of a mid-grade resident. Cost, when compared with resident physicians, is higher; however, data comparing to the hiring additional medical professionals is lacking.
The medical community should further explore the use of NPs, particularly in fast track areas for high volume departments. In rural areas, NPs could supplement overextended physicians and allow health centres to remain open when they might otherwise have to close. These strategies could improve access to care and patient satisfaction for selected urban and rural populations as well as make the best use of limited medical resources.
Standard learning objectives enable residency directors to develop effective programs and evaluate residents based on key goals and parameters. While standards are important for ensuring basic competence, the usual process has little flexibility to address the unique needs and desires of a given resident. Our objective was to determine whether the expectations of off-service residents rotating through an emergency department (ED) rotation were being met.
We developed a 144-item questionnaire using a 5-point Likert scale and surveyed 25 off-service residents at the beginning and end of their ED rotation. The survey was divided into 3 sections: presentations, skills and diagnoses.
The results demonstrate that certain expectations are consistently underachieved while others represent individual variations.
We propose a learner-centred approach to ensure an optimal emergency educational experience for all trainees.
Sand quarrying in 1989 at Sand Fiold, Sandwick, in Orkney resulted in the accidental discovery of a rock-cut chamber containing a cist. Subsequent excavation revealed that this cist had a number of unusual features. The cist slabs had been fitted together exceptionally well and the completed cist was designed to be re-opened by the removal of a side slab. Within the chamber, access was provided to the opening side of the cist and a relieving structure was built over its capstone.
The cist contained cremation and inhumation burials that had been inserted on more than one occasion; as its builders intended. A collection of poorly preserved unburnt bone was found to comprise the remains of two individuals: a young adult and a foetus. Two collections of cremated bone, each derived from a single adult, were also present; one in a Food Vessel Urn, the second forming a pile on the floor and containing two burnt antler tines and two unburnt human teeth. The un-urned cremation deposit and the unburnt bones had been covered in mats of plant fibres derived from grass and sedge. The urn had been lined with basketry, also made from grass. Outside the cist, an exceptionally large collection of fuel ash slag (FAS), derived from a cremation pyre, had been deposited between the cist and the wall of the rock-cut chamber.
Radiocarbon dates indicate that the site and its contents had a long history. The FAS and the foetus skeleton date to 2900–2500 cal BC. Between 2200 and 1900 cal BC the urned cremation and young adult human bones were inserted and charcoal was deposited in the foundation slots for the back wall of the cist. The deposition of the un-urned cremation was dated to 1000–800 cal BC, some 900 years later, when the urn had already fallen over and broken. At this time, it is assumed that the urn was restored to an upright position and propped with stones, while the stone lid for the urn was reused in the foundation slot of the left-hand side of the cist. Reuse and refurbishment over two millennia seem evidenced in the results from this cist.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.