Influence of The Education and Training of Prehospital Medical Crews on Measures of Performance and Patient Outcomes
Abstract: Prehospital care has developed dramatically the last decades with the implementation of new devices and educational concepts. Clinical decisions and treatments have moved out from the hospitals to the prehospital setting. In Sweden this has been accompanied by an increase in the level of competence, i.e. by introducing nurses in the ambulances. With some exceptions the scientific support for these changes is poor.This thesis deals with such changes in three different subsets of prehospital care: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the stroke chain of survival and trauma care.We assessed the performance of ambulance crews during CPR, using a mechanical compression device, as compared to CPR using manual compressions. There was a strikingly poor quality of compressions using the mechanical device compared to CPR with manual compressions. The result calls for caution when implementing a chest compression device in clinical practice and reinforce the importance of randomised controlled trials to evaluate new interventions. Careful attention should be given to the assurance of correct application of the device. Further implementation without evaluation of the quality of mechanical compressions in a clinical setting is discouraged.Among patients with a prehospital suspicion of stroke we analysed the ambulance nurses’ ability to select the correct patient subset eligible for a CT scan as a preparation for potential thrombolysis. The results do not support an implementation of a bypass of the emergency department, using ambulance nurse competence to select patients eligible and suitable for a CT scan without a preceding assessment by a physician.The association between the Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS) course and the outcome in victims of trauma was analysed in two observational studies. A study covering one county gave some support for a protective effect from PHTLS, but the estimate had a low precision. A nationwide study, covering all of Sweden, could not confirm those results. Although there was a reduction in mortality over time coinciding with the implementation of PHTLS, it did not appear to be associated with the implementation of PHTLS. Thus, we could not detect any clear beneficial impact of the PHTLS course on the outcome of trauma patients.
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