Paramedics with extended skills can provide a safe and effective alternative to standard ambulance transfer and hospital treatment for older people with minor injuries or illness, claim Sheffield researchers.
They carried out a year-long trial of 3,018 patients aged 60 and above, who called the emergency services with a problem within the scope of paramedic training, such as lacerations, nosebleeds, minor burns and falls.
Subjects were randomised to either the standard 999 service or one of seven paramedics who had completed a training course for older people's support.
Patients in the community paramedic group were almost 25% less likely to attend A&E, or require admission within 28 days than the control group, the authors said.
Equally, the intervention patients were more likely to report high levels of satisfaction with their care, they added.