We take the right path for our patients

We take the right path for our patients

2 landscape pictures together. top picture is dark/shadowed of someone sat facing away from the camera and the bottom photo is a close up of lady's face.
Accessing the alternative pathways that we have available can be really beneficial for our patients.

This week (21-27 September) we are having an extra focus on taking the right path for our patients.

This is promoting our effort to help reduce avoidable admissions of our patients into hospital when we know that a suitable alternative care pathway is going to be more appropriate in aiding longer term recovery.

As an ambulance service, we do much more than simply transport poorly patients to hospital.

Our highly-skilled frontline clinicians have lots of knowledge and experience in performing concise and thorough medical assessments and interventions for their patients at the scene of a call-out. When a patient needs additional medical help but doesn’t need to go to hospital, our clinicians can also help that patient access the most appropriate pathway for their needs.

To support with ‘Taking the Right Path Week’, we have been training ambassadors on the frontline to help promote the alternative pathways that are available to their peers so that our clinicians feel equipped with the knowledge to aid their decision making on scene.

There are many reasons why people phone 999 and some of those times our patients are in physical and/or mental distress and they need urgent assistance.

For “Louise” (not her real name), her neighbour phoned for an ambulance as she was struggling to breathe as a result of a panic attack.

Louise said: “I felt like I was dying. I was coughing, and I was feeling like I couldn't breathe, and I was panicking.”

Upon arrival the ambulance crew did a thorough[FE1]  clinical assessment of Louise. They accessed her medical history using an application called GP Connect.

This is a facility where we can see the summary of a patient's notes and allows us to engage with their GP, if needed, to refer a patient onwards to a more appropriate healthcare professional or service.

After accessing GP Connect the ambulance crew could see that Louise suffers with severe anxiety and struggles with her mental health, so they arranged for an appointment for Louise to see her GP.

Louise added: “They were nice, and they were able to calm me down.

“I was very relieved that I didn't need to go to the hospital as I'm frightened of them.”

Another patient who has bravely told her story is 79-year-old Daphne.

Daphne had a fall outside of her home in October last year and after her neighbour and husband could not get her off the floor due to her being in too much pain they decided to call 111 for advice.

An ambulance was sent to attend Daphne and the crew managed to get her onto her feet with the aid of a device called a Mangar Elk, which is a cushion which slowly fills with air to help lift patients off the floor.

Daphne said: “The paramedics were very compassionate, and I couldn't fault them at all.

“They were very attentive, and they established that hip and shoulder on my left-hand side hadn’t been broken and I was mobile so there was no need for me to have to go into hospital.”

Recognising that Daphne was at risk of having future falls around her home due to her arthritis, the crew on scene submitted an onward referral to the Wellbeing Service offered by her local council.

They got in touch with Daphne to offer assistance around her house in the form of bars and rails to assist her mobility, however Daphne had already put in place a portable step to decrease the height of the step from the back door where she fell.

Daphne added: “Realising I didn’t need to go to hospital was a great ease of my mind and I'm very aware at my age that I could have suffered a much worse situation than I did.”

We will continue to take people to hospital who genuinely need to attend for further treatment or assessment, especially if their condition is life-threatening and intensive treatment in an acute setting is the only option for them.

However, for some patients, an alternative pathway – which means treatment by another healthcare professional or service – is the best thing for them to get the longer term help they need.