A new study entitled, ‘Community First Responders (CFRs) and schemes in the United Kingdom: systematic scoping review‘, conducted by members of CaHRU was published on 19th June 2017 in the Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine. This article was the culmination of an initial idea for research proposed by Ian Trueman from the School of Health and Social Care. He undertook the scoping review with former colleague, Fiona Togher. Viet-Hai Phung took over from Fiona after the scoping review was completed and subsequently led writing the paper, with substantial constructive comments from Ian, Professor Niro Siriwardena and Dr Roderick Ørner, a consultant psychologist.
From an initial search of six databases, 15,696 publications were identified as being potentially relevant. After several stages of screening by title and abstract, narrowing the geographical focus and for relevance of content, as well as removing duplicates and full-text screening, nine studies were included in the final analysis.
A number of key themes were identified by the nine publications. The study showed that people were motivated to become CFRs through an altruistic desire to help others. They generally felt rewarded by their work but recognised that the help they provided was limited by their training compared with ambulance staff. CFRs felt that better feedback would enhance their learning. Ongoing training and support were viewed as essential to enable CFRs to progress. They perceived that public recognition of the CFR role was low with patients sometimes confusing them with ambulance staff. Relationships with the ambulance service were sometimes ambivalent due to confusion over roles.
These findings establish a baseline of evidence on the work of CFRs in the UK. The team are building on this by undertaking an interview study of CFRs. Opportunities for future research include exploring the experiences and perceptions of patients who have been treated by CFRs as well as other stakeholders, including ambulance staff, while also evaluating the effectiveness and costs of CFR schemes.
By Viet-Hai Phung