Background Paramedics routinely attend palliative and end of life (EoL) patients within the ambulance service (Murphy-Jones, Laverty & Stonehouse, 2021. Prog Palliat Care. 29:66). Despite projects within some ambulance services to develop lead roles for EoL, opportunities for Paramedics to have a career within the hospice sector are few and far between, and often overlooked by those establishing services (Long, 2019. Prog Palliat Care. 27: 289).
Aims Whilst there is a small cohort of Paramedics already working in hospices across the country, there is potential to utilise their unique skillset to support the wider MDT to improve patient care and experience (Blackmore, 2022. Palliat Med. 36:402) especially in triage, assessment and urgent response.
Methods In order to do this effectively, a number of key objectives need to be recognised at local, regional and national level;
A shared understanding of the Paramedic skillset and potential scope of practice.
A national framework for Paramedics working in end of life.
A need for the College of Paramedics and other relevant bodies to support a growing movement, incorporating it within relevant policies and guidelines.
A need to lobby for amendments to prescribing laws for Paramedics, to facilitate their prescribing in palliative care.
Advancement in undergraduate, postgraduate education and training in palliative and end of life care for Paramedics.
Results The College of Paramedics have put a call out for those interested to be part of a palliative and end of life care special interest group; they have also advertised for a new speciality Paramedic to lead the developing group and influence the College of Paramedics, steering their national direction on this emerging specialty.
Conclusion It is important to understand that, whilst a Paramedic workforce may help the needs of some hospice patients, they are not a ‘silver bullet’ for fixing the extensive national shortages in the nursing workforce. Paramedics should be used for the additionality they provide, strengthening the MDT and improving patient experience.
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