Anthony Carnicelli, Anne-Marie M. Williams, Dale G. Edwards

Paramedic Education and Training for the Management of Patients Presenting with Low-Acuity Clinical Conditions: A Scoping Review

  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Leadership and Management

Ambulance services around the world are increasingly attending to calls for non-emergency conditions. These lower-acuity conditions do not always require patients to be transported to the emergency department. Consequently, over the past two decades, ambulance services have implemented strategies to support paramedics in diverting non-urgent patients to alternative care pathways. However, assessing and managing low-acuity conditions can be challenging for paramedics, especially when education and training has traditionally focussed on emergency care. This scoping review explores the education and training provided to paramedics on low-acuity clinical conditions and the use of alternative care pathways. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews was applied. The databases searched included Scopus, CINAHL, Embase, Emcare, and MEDLINE (PubMed). The search identified one-hundred sixty-six records, with a total of nine articles reviewed after the removal of duplicates and the screening process. The articles were diverse, with education and training ranging from university degrees for extended care practitioners to short in-service-based training for a suite of protocols or assessment tools. However, the literature addressing education and training on low-acuity conditions and alternative care pathways is limited, with the type and length of education programs appearing to influence practice. There is a need for further research to establish a low acuity education model.

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