Community paramedicine for the management of urgent, low-acuity illnesses and injuries
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What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a strain on healthcare services and resources. Existing research into the effects of expanding paramedic roles in the management of urgent, low-acuity illnesses and injuries (called “community paramedicine”) may provide useful information for policy makers. In this systematic review, the authors searched for studies evaluating an expanded scope of practice for paramedics. They restricted their searches to articles published in English from 2000 to September 2011. They included 11 articles, including 1 randomized trial and a separate report using data from that trial, and 9 other studies. The reports were from Australia (1 study), Canada (1) and the UK (9). What was found: The one randomized trial found that paramedics can safely practice community paramedicine, and improve system performance and patient outcomes. The agreed expanded roles for paramedics, impacts of expanded paramedic roles compared to usual practice, and the long-term impacts of community paramedicine are uncertain.