Why are people without medical needs transported by ambulance? A study of indications for pre-hospital care

European Journal of Emergency Medicine : Official Journal of the European Society for Emergency Medicine
Lena HjälteIngvar Karlberg

Abstract

The purpose of this report was to describe the characteristics of patients transported by ambulance, in spite of being evaluated by the ambulance staff at the scene as not requiring prehospital care. A second aim was to compare these patients with those judged as being in need of this care. Three ambulance service districts located in different rural and metropolitan geographical areas were included in the study and all three were covered by a single emergency dispatch centre. Following the dispatch of ambulances, the staff assessed and recorded the medical needs of the patients at the scene, according to a questionnaire developed for the study. In addition to the questionnaire, data were extracted from the ambulance medical records database for each patient. If the patients were just transported by ambulance without receiving any other prehospital intervention, they were assessed as not being in need of the emergency service. The evaluation included events at the scene and during transportation. The ambulance staff making the needs assessments were emergency medical technicians and registered nurses. In this report, 604 patients who did not require prehospital care are described and compared with the remaining group of patient...Continue Reading

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