Viet-Hai Phung presented the findings of a University of Lincoln study on Community First Responders at a meeting of the National Ambulance Service First Responder Managers Forum at East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust at Beechdale, Nottingham on 25th April 2017. The presentation set out the aims and objectives of the research, which were to explore the role of CFRs in a rural location, using a systematic scoping review followed up by qualitative interviews.
This study team of Viet-Hai Phung, Fiona Togher, Ian Trueman, Prof Roderick Ørner and Prof Niro Siriwardena, began the research in April 2016 with a systematic scoping review of CFR schemes in the UK which was published recently. Then followed a qualitative study involving 16 interviews of CFRs, conducted from June-July 2016. After describing the progress of the study, Viet-Hai Phung outlined the key findings of the scoping review. These included that: volunteers became CFRs mainly for altruistic reasons; they wanted more training and feedback on incidents they had attended; there were concerns about the possible emotional impact on CFRs responding to incidents; there was low public recognition of CFR schemes and sometimes confusion with ambulance staff; relationships with the ambulance staff were sometimes affected by confusion over roles; CFRs wanted local autonomy for CFR schemes but with greater sharing of best practice. Some of the findings from the scoping review were reinforced by the interview study. These findings, alongside others, were reinforced by the interview study.
The broad consensus among the regional ambulance managers was that further research was needed on CFRs and CFR schemes building on the work so far, and CaHRU is committed to working with ambulance trusts to further develop the work on CFRs. Professor Niro Siriwardena, who was also present at the event, said there were plans to discuss this further with ambulance service research leads at the next meeting of the National Ambulance Research Steering Group.
The first of this year’s series of CaHRU/LIH (Community and Health Research Unit/Lincoln Institute for Health) improvement science and research methods seminars was given by Prof Siriwardena on mixed methods on 16 February 2016. Improvement and implementation science benefits from the use of mixed research designs which combine quantitative and qualitative methods to show not only what happened but also why and how this might have occurred. Mixed methods approaches are a subset of multiple methods which involve more than one type of qualitative or quantitative method.
The seminar covered principles such as definitions, theoretical approaches (such as pragmatism and transformation), basic and advanced (including case study) designs and approaches to data integration and transformation. This was then applied to examples of mixed methods designs used by CaHRU in a previous programme of research: the Ambulance Services Cardiovascular Quality Initiative (ASCQI). ASCQI was a national project, led by CaHRU and East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, designed to improve care for people presenting to ambulance services with heart attack or stroke using a large-scale quality improvement collaborative (QIC), evaluated using a multiple case-study design.
ASCQI involved gathering quantitative and qualitative data to describe what effect the QIC had, and how improvements, if they did occur, were brought about. Integration of data was carried out using techniques such annotated control charts showing time series data together with what was implemented, pattern matching comparing what services did and whether improvements occurred (doi: 10.1186/1748-5908-9-17), and comparison of quantitative and qualitative data from an online questionnaire (doi: 10.1111/jep.12438). Attendees were finally asked to consider a mixed methods question and think about research designs which they might use to answer it.
Thank you to all those staff and students who attended. Details of future seminars will be posted on the CaHRU and the LIH sites shortly.
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Dr Stephanie Armstrong joined CaHRU this month to work on the Wellcome Trust funded ‘Network exploring Ethics in Ambulance Trials (NEAT)’ project. She says, “I come to Community and Health Research Unit from a rather diverse background having begun my academic life in the field of Zoology. I completed a PhD in Zoology from Trinity College, Dublin in 2006, where my work focussed on the nutrition and behaviour of large captive herbivores and in particular zebra.
In 2004 I joined Sparsholt College, Hampshire as a lecturer in the Equine Studies section and worked my way up to Head of Department for Animal Management Higher Education. This career path however, took me away from hands on research and, after working for Sparsholt College for 7 years, I realised that I needed a change of direction. With that in mind I undertook an MSc in Forensic Anthropology at the University of Lincoln, reigniting my passion for research. I also hold degrees in Equine Studies and Herbal Medicine.
As a result I have extensive experience in a wide range of research both quantitative and qualitative ranging from novel animal behaviour studies to in-depth systematic reviews. My research interests lie within the areas of ethics and human rights.” The NEAT project is CaHRU’s first Wellcome Trust grant, led by Prof Siriwardena in collaboration with Dr Adele Langlois from the School of Social and Political Sciences.