Perceptions and experiences of community first responders on their role and relationships: qualitative interview study

Phung, Viet-Hai and Trueman, Ian and Togher, Fiona and Orner, Roderick and Siriwardena, Niro (2018) Perceptions and experiences of community first responders on their role and relationships: qualitative interview study. In: 999 EMS Research Forum Conference 2018, 26 - 27 March 2018, Stirling, Scotland, UK.

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Perceptions and experiences of community first responders on their role and relationships: qualitative interview study
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Abstract

Background
Community First Responder (CFR) schemes work with ambulance services to support lay volunteers in responding to medical emergencies. In 1999, UK government encouraged ambulance services to use CFRs, especially in rural locations. Their role is primarily to stabilise patients’ conditions and perform basic clinical procedures before handing over to statutory ambulance service crew. By early 2014, there were 2,431 CFR schemes, using over 12,000 volunteers in the UK. We aimed to explore the perceptions and experiences of CFRs about their role.

Methods
We interviewed four female and 12 male adult CFRs across Lincolnshire from June-July 2016. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded thematically in NVivo 10.

Results
The interviews revealed five overarching themes: ‘getting started and keeping going’; ‘the reality of being a CFR’; ‘recognition and relationships’; ‘learning to be a CFR’ (training and feedback); and ‘the way forward’. CFRs were keen to enhance their skills and progress, but less enthusiastic about fundraising for schemes. CFRs preferred scenario-based training to prepare for incidents and sought formal feedback from their work. They valued informal emotional support to cope with stressful incidents. The public often confused CFRs with ambulance staff, while the relationship between CFRs and ambulance staff was sometimes ambivalent. To address the lack of awareness among the public and the ambulance service, this scheme is actively raising its profile.

Conclusion
The desire to help and learn, as well as the emotional support and identity were important drivers to becoming and remaining a CFR. Barriers included: fundraising duties and lack of recognition from the public and statutory services. In response, CFR schemes are actively raising their profile. Our findings provide insight into how CFRs might be better supported. Further research is required on the benefits of CFRs, 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
ID Code:32368
Deposited On:20 Oct 2018 20:03

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