Care for older people with dementia (OPWD) is a major concern across all care settings and the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia both reflects and has contributed to a growing awareness of the issues bringing dementia up the political agenda. Ambulance services are also in the spotlight, as crucial players in the many interlinked care settings. Pressures on emergency services and calls for admissions avoidance have hit the headlines and prompted last year’s Urgent and Emergency Care Review.
A previous study on non-transported patients found this group to be made up of predominantly elderly people (i.e. over 65 years old), but did not report on the type of residence (i.e. a home or a care home) of non-transported patients and information is not available on these patients’ cognitive status. Research on use of emergency ambulance services has tended to focus on characteristics and needs of OPWD on arrival at the Emergency Department (ED) and the appropriateness of admission. As noted in recent guidance from the British Geriatrics Society, ‘The Silver Book’ “There is an embarrassing paucity of research into the needs of frail older people in general, and hardly any directly relevant research addressing urgent care.
The aim of the RODES study is to inform the selection and development of interventions to support a more efficient use of emergency ambulance services by OPWD.