SAFER 2 – Update July 2012
Posted on July 3, 2012
SAFER 2 is a valuable and prestigious study, led by Professor Helen Snooks, Professor of Health Services Research in CHIRAL, College of Medicine, Swansea University. The study is evaluating the clinical and cost effectiveness of new protocols for emergency ambulance personnel to assess and refer older people who have fallen to community based care where appropriate. It is funded through the NIHR Health Technology Assesment programme.
Three ambulance services across England and Wales (East Midlands Ambulance Service, the Welsh Ambulance Service and London Ambulance Service) are participating. Paramedics based at intervention stations at these sites receive training in the use of the new protocols and access to community referral pathways. Paramedics based at control stations deliver their usual care. Outcomes between the two groups of patients will be compared at one and six months.
We recently received funding for an extension until September 2013, bringing the total funding for the study to £1.8 million. The extension was granted in part due to the substantial progress the study has already made, with 220 paramedics taking part from the three sites. Over 4000 eligible patients have already been attended by these paramedics.
The success of this study has depended on building strong collaborations with partner services and working across NHS boundaries, in order to deliver this complex intervention. To date, study intervention paramedics have referred 330 patients to community falls services.
Feedback regarding these referrals has been very positive:
“Each referral has been very appropriate. The quality of referrals is excellent – the clinical information is clear with supporting social information. In fact, it is fair to say, these are the best referrals we receive in terms of information given”.
Paramedics receive operational and clincial support to use the new referral protocols, as well as receiving feedback from the falls services on the outcomes of the referrals they make.
The following case study demonstrates how the community based falls team and the ambulance service working together in this way can benefit the patient.
“On arrival and after forcing entry, the paramedic found a 97 year old female alert, lying in hallway. The patient tripped whilst trying to answer the door to Meals on Wheels, locking herself in. The patient was suffering from pain to the right flank and shoulder. Patient refused hospital and GP attention and agreed to a SAFER 2 referral.
Patient received assessments from the physiotherapist, occupational therapist and nursing team. Her right shoulder pain has been managed with heat packs and gentle exercises and she has now almost fully recovered. Furthermore, the patient received balance and strength training and has been given a 3 wheeled walking aid.
With transport provided from the Falls Service, the patient attended the Day Centre, leaving her home for the first time in months. She has suffered no falls since the SAFER 2 referral.”
The study research findings will be used to inform policy and service development on a national scale.
For further information on this trial please contact:-
Sarah Gaze, Trial Co-Manager on email@example.com
Becky Anthony, Trial Co-Manager on firstname.lastname@example.org