An article entitled, ‘Feeling reassured: the glue that holds together patients’ experiences of ambulance service care’ was published in the autumn (September) issue of Ambulance Today. The article by Prof Niro Siriwardena and Fiona Togher, based on work undertaken as part of the National Institute for Health Research funded five-year Programme for Applied Health Research co-led by Prof Siriwardena together with doctoral research by Fiona Togher, describes findings from a recent paper published in Health Expectations.
The article, ‘Reassurance as a key outcome valued by emergency ambulance service users: a qualitative interview study’, describes how healthcare quality incorporates the important of patient experience as well as safe and effective clinical care and what patients feel contributes to a good experience. The original study involved 22 patients who had recently experienced care from the ambulance service together with eight spouses. The interviews revealed that the ability of ambulance staff to reassure patients was the ‘glue’ that held together patients’ experiences: if patients did not feel reassured during their care this adversely affected their overall experience.
[su_document url=”https://communityandhealth.dev.lincoln.ac.uk/files/2015/09/Siriwardena-Togher-Feeling-reassured-AT-2015.pdf” responsive=”no”]Multi-morbidity, goal-oriented care, the community and equity[/su_document]Patients expected the clinical care delivered by ambulance staff to be safe and effective, but what affected their experience and their feeling of being reassured were other aspects of care such as professionalism (demeanour and conduct), good communication (sensitive to the needs of patients and their relatives), responsiveness (timeliness that met needs rather than simply a rapid response), and continuity (effective handover to hospital or community pathways). The research is part of the Prehospital and Emergency Quality and Outcomes (PEQO) workstream at CaHRU and has contributed to Fiona’s doctoral research on the development of a Patient Reported Experience Measure (PREM) for use in NHS ambulance services.
Researchers from CaHRU with colleagues from the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at the University of Sheffield have published a new study: “Reassurance as a key outcome valued by emergency ambulance service users: a qualitative interview study” in the journal Health Expectations. The study’s lead author was Fiona Togher, PhD student and Graduate Research Assistant in CaHRU. She was supported in the work by Alicia O’Cathain, Professor of Health Services Research at the University of Sheffield, Viet-Hai Phung, Research Assistant in CaHRU, Janette Turner, Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield and Professor Niro Siriwardena, director of CaHRU. The study is part of a five year NIHR Programme for Applied Health Research, Prehospital Outcomes for Evidence Based Evaluation (PhOEBE).
The authors aimed to investigate the aspects of emergency ambulance care that were most valued by users of the service. Fiona and Viet-Hai interviewed people (patients and carers) that had used the ambulance service for a range of different conditions such as diabetes, suspected stroke, breathing difficulties and falls. The participants had also received various types of ambulance service response i.e. ‘hear and treat’ in which the participants received enhanced clinical assessment and advice over the telephone only, ‘see and treat’ in which the participants were treated on-scene by appropriately skilled clinicians without the need for hospital admission and the more familiar, ‘see and convey’ in which the participants received pre-hospital assessment and treatment before transportation to acute care.
The authors found that regardless of their specific clinical problem people valued similar aspects of their emergency ambulance service experience. Participants had often been extremely anxious about their health, and they most valued the reassurance they felt from receiving appropriate advice, treatment and care from ambulance service staff. It was found that the ability of the emergency ambulance service to allay the high levels of fear and anxiety felt by users is crucial to the delivery of a high quality service.
The qualitative interview data collected from this research is now being re-analysed as part of Fiona’s doctoral studies to develop a Patient Reported Experience Measure (PREM) for use in UK ambulance services.