Patients seen by ambulance paramedics but not transported to hospital have not previously been studied in Australia. The purpose of this pilot study is to determine the feasibility of telephone interviews to describe and analyse patient factors, and determine short term patient outcomes associated with paramedic no-transport decisions.
Twenty (20) patients participated in semi-structured telephone interviews 13-30 days following an episode of care from an Australian urban ambulance service. Data analysis was conducted in two phases; firstly, a quantitative description of the patient characteristics and their outcomes; and secondly, a qualitative analysis using a thematic framework to determine if there were any common themes emerging from the interviews.
Only three (3) patients refused to participate in the interviews and none were unable to be located. The reasons patients expressed for not accepting transport were varied, though a common factor related to patient expectations of the service provided by paramedics. Patients had poor recall of advice provided by paramedics. All except one patient were successfully diverted from the emergency health system. Overall, patients expressed high satisfaction with their experience.
The reasons patients choose for not being transported require further study but appear to be driven by their expectations of the service provided by Paramedics. Telephone interviews are a viable method for collecting data on non-transported ambulance patients.
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