The perceptions and experiences of being Community First Responders: an interview study in the UK

Phung, Viet-Hai and Trueman, Ian and Togher, Fiona and Orner, Roderick and Siriwardena, Niro (2017) The perceptions and experiences of being Community First Responders: an interview study in the UK. In: Mediterranean Emergency Medicine Congress, 8-10 September 2017, Corinthia Hotel, Lisbon, Portugal.

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Abstract

Objective
Community First Responder schemes work with ambulance services to support lay volunteers in responding to medical emergencies. Our aim was to explore the perceptions and experiences of Community First Responders about their role.

Design and Method
We interviewed four female and 12 male adult Community First Responders across a predominantly rural UK county in June-July 2016. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded thematically in NVivo 10.

Results
From the interviews, we identified five overarching themes: ‘getting started and keeping going’, ‘learning to be a Community First Responder’ (training and feedback) ‘the reality of being a Community First Responder’, ‘recognition and relationships’, ‘the way forward’. Volunteers became CFRs in a number of ways and did so mainly for altruistic reasons, which maintained their enthusiasm for the role. CFRs undertook different training pathways, delivered in a variety of ways, to reach the different levels of expertise. They often attended highly distressing incidents, which sometimes exacted a high emotional toll. CFRs often suffered from a lack of recognition from the public and sometimes being under-valued by ambulance staff. To address the lack of recognition among the public and being under-valued by the ambulance service, this scheme is taking steps to market what they do better.

Conclusion
The desire to help and learn, as well as the emotional support and identity were important drivers to becoming and remaining a Community First Responder. Barriers to the role included: fundraising duties and lack of recognition from the public and statutory services. Community First Responder schemes are working to address this last point by raising awareness of what they do. Our findings provide insight into how the role might be better supported. Further research is required on the benefits of Community First Responders, as well as the public and ambulance service perceptions of what they do.

Keywords:First responders; prehospital care; urgent care; ambulance care, volunteers
Subjects:B Subjects allied to Medicine > B990 Subjects Allied to Medicine not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Health & Social Care
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ID Code:31050
Deposited On:08 Mar 2018 11:30

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