South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust: Community first responder lifting scheme

Non-injurious falls are typically assigned the lowest level of response priority by ambulance services. Although this makes clinical sense, it means that at times of high demand, patients may have a very long wait for an ambulance.

When staff at South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust conducted a review of non-injurious falls, they discovered that response times ranged from 3 to 545 minutes – for a group of patients whose average age was 81.

And so the trust began to explore whether community first responders  – volunteers who already responded to critically unwell 999 calls in their local community with paramedic back-up – could be enabled to assess and lift patients who have fallen but not injured themselves.

Training on a decision support tool was provided to 17 CFR groups across the trust, and lifting equipment was then issued.

Over the first eight weeks of the programme, 77 per cent of non-injurious falls were managed by the CFRs using the decision support tool and remote clinical support, with no need for an ambulance response. That equated to 148 hours of operational time saved, and a £10,895.28 efficiency saving.

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