Could you be a Community Support Responder?
Approximately one in three of all emergency calls made to ambulance trusts throughout the UK are non-life threatening calls. Of these calls, less than half require an ambulance response and most of these patients need urgent access to their GP, Out of Hours, or other community based services.
Urgent Health Care
LIVES is working with health care providers across Lincolnshire to help people who have an urgent health care requirement, ensuring they receive the help that they need, when they need it and in their own homes whenever possible. Evidence shows that patients who are frail, elderly and/or those who have long term conditions such as diabetes, heart or respiratory disease have worse outcomes if they are admitted to hospital for long periods of care.
Non Life Threatening
At the moment, some patients who call 999 or 111 with an urgent but non-life threatening problem may have to wait an indefinite time for a response because patients with life threatening problems understandably take priority. LIVES Community Support Responders will respond to these calls, and working with Ambulance Control and 111 will help in providing on scene assessment of the patient's needs and assisting the patient in accessing the necessary services in a timely manner.
The History of LIVES (Lincolnshire Integrated Voluntary Emergency Services)
A horrific accident on the A1 at Catterick occurred in the early 1970’s, when no doctor was available to attend and the casualty died through lack of immediate medical assistance. This triggered Dr Ken Easton, a local GP to develop the services of a voluntary group of Doctors who would be available to attend road traffic accidents to provide assistance to the Emergency Services.
Two doctors in Lincolnshire, Dr. Michael Cooper from Nettleham and Dr. Richard Harper-Smith of Tetford immediately responded to this concept. They held an open meeting of doctors to discuss the development of this voluntary service. To their delight, the meeting was attended by over 100 local doctors who received the idea with enthusiasm. As a result of this meeting LIVES was born. This was a scheme to provide emergency medical assistance for road traffic accident victims and other trauma cases which was welcomed by all the emergency services, Ambulance, Police and Fire.
In those early days LIVES had no funds and doctors had to buy their own equipment but as time went by and after much hard work several companies and institutes gave money which was spent on establishing a radio-communication system to improve the efficiency of callouts. A mixture of telephones and two way radios were introduced with transmitters at Nettleham and Fulletby.
In the 1990s LIVES accepted an invitation from the Lincolnshire Ambulance Service (now EMAS) to integrate LIVES Control within the Ambulance Control Centre at Bracebridge Heath as part of the computerized automatic dispatch (CAD) system. Then in 1999 the Chief Executive of the Ambulance Trust invited LIVES to establish a First Responder Service for suspected heart attack victims and was envisaged that this would enable an equality of service to be extended across all rural areas. It was agreed to call this the LIVES The First Responder Scheme.
At this point, volunteers were also invited to become Responders, which is how the current Nettleham LIVES group was established. In each area a Group leader organizes both fund-raisers and responders who raise sums to finance the purchase of equipment and train as qualified responders. Currently there are 158 groups operating throughout Lincolnshire with their HQ and training facilities based in Horncastle.
Nettleham Group meets once a month and also train on Thursday evenings at Nettleham Village Hall. Anyone is welcome to visit us to see what we do.
Some patients who contact 999 or 111 systems frequently do not have a life threatening problem but they do need help quickly to avoid their condition becoming worse. The existing emergency system in the UK provides an 8 minute response to patients with life threatening problems, but patients who fall outside this emergency category receive a varying response with no time pedormance requirement'
Early intervention for patients with urgent but none emergency health problems, can mean the difference between them being successfully managed at home, or deteriorating and requiring prolonged periods of in-patient care.
Community Support Responders
- A prompt response to patients with urgent but not emergency health care needs
- Reliable assisted "on scene" assessment and feedback to the GP, ambulance service or any other acute health care provider
- Hands on assistance in signposting and accessing relevant health care for patients who may otherwise be unnecessarily transported to and/or admitted to hospital
- Dialogue with the patient and their carers to establish what the problem is and what care that person needs
- Communication with other health care providers such as GPs, community nurses, the Out of Hours Service, Adult and Social Care and EMAS to make sure the patient gets the appropriate care for their need
- A valuable and fulfilling service within their own community
- An integral and extremely valued part of the urgent care network within the county of Lincolnshire
- Help to keep people healthy and safe in their communities
- Help to frail and elderly patients and patients with long term conditions in their own homes
ALWAYS DIAL 999 IN AN EMERGENCY!
Q. Am I likely to be spending long periods of time with the patients?
A. No, you will liaise with Control (clinical assessmenf team) or 111 regarding the Community Support problems/issues the patient has, with a view to arranging the best solution for the patient (GP appointment, district nurse visit, etc) once this has been agreed the Responder can then leave the patient.
Q. Will an ambulance be on the way when I get to the patient?
A. Not usually. You are there to help assess the situation. From the information you discuss with the triage nurse or 111 advisor about the patient the triage nurse or advisor may decide the call needs upgrading and an ambulance will be sent.
Q. l joined LIVES to save lives, will this service help save lives?
A.Yes, by attending non life threatening calls this will free up an ambulance and its crew to attend more serious calls. Also some calls that are initially classified as non life threatening from the information provided by the patient/caller are found to be more serious when attended. Patients with urgent health problems often deteriorate while waiting for non- emergency help or assistance and evidence shows that the outcome for these patients is worse because of delayed care. Community Support Responders will significantly improve the quality or urgent health care and in some cases will help to preserve life.
Q. Will I have to make decisions about a patient's condition?
A. No, you will be the eyes and ears of the EMAS or 111 triage nurse; you will be able to help the patient get the right information across.
Q. When do I have to be on duty?
A. As with being a Responder, when you can, and as often as you can be on duty.
Community Support Responders will be trained in patient assessment, communication, patient care pathways and use of a Directory of Services.
They will also be trained in CPR and first aid and will carry some first aid equipment, although they will not be expected to attend patients who are clearly very unwell and in need of immediate clinical intervention. They will discuss the problem with the patient, carers and ambulance control/111 and agree the necessary actions to help make the relevant contact for assistance - for instance, they may provide the link to the patient's GP, out of hours doctor/practitioner, community nurses or social care.
Although these Responders will be attending non- emergency calls, they can advise to upgrade the call after first assessing the patient if they think it's necessary. The patient would then be upgraded to an emergency ambulance response.
By utilising a Community Support Responder, Ambulance Control will be able to help avoid the unnecessary patient attendance to A&E or admission to hospital.
Now there is a way that you can help your community
Helping Save Lives in Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire Integrated Voluntary Emergency Service