Ambulance Lights and Sirens

The major indication for Lights & Sirens (L&S) is a presumed significant decrease in response and transport time. However, multiple studies reveal a minimal decrease in transit time with L&S use, with an average of 1.7 to 3.6 minutes saved.

For most conditions, EMS providers can provide timely care on-site or en route to diminish the importance of time saved by L&S transport, thus reducing the risk to providers, patients, and the public. In greater than 90 percent of patients, there is no improved outcome from L&S use. For some conditions, such as ST-elevation myocardial infarctions, trauma with life-threatening haemorrhage, obstetrical emergencies, or ischemic strokes, the use of L&S use may improve patient outcome by decreasing transit time. However accurate prehospital notifications to the receiving hospitals may be more beneficial than L&S as this should reduce in-hospital delays waiting for therapeutic interventions. In some cases, prehospital notification has shown an evidence-based improvement in patient outcome by mobilizing the necessary resources.

 

 

Assessment of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Training Curricula in Kenya

 

This assessment, conducted by external EMS experts with expertise in African and international EMS systems and EMS education, reports several key findings and offers important recommendations to help standardise and enhance the quality of training in Kenyan prehospital care.

In brief, the key recommendations are as follows:

  1. A standard Kenyan EMS scope of practice (document and policy) is needed that defines levels (i.e. tiers or cadres) of EMS providers and delineates all knowledge and skills required to practice as a prehospital provider at the given level.
  2. A standard for EMS training should be developed and implemented to help ensure high quality and uniformity in EMS training across institutions, and alignment with the Kenyan EMS scope of practice.
  3. There should be a transition from over-reliance on non-Kenyan curricula and training content, to more Kenya-specific materials and content targeted to the local burden of disease, healthcare system, and available resources. External reference texts/material can function as a guide for initial training initiatives and provide coarse structure, but training content should be edited as much as possible to reflect local needs.
  4. The EMS training culture should shift away from diagnosis-based training to syndrome or
    symptom-based training.
  5. EMS trainees could greatly benefit from stronger foundational didactic classroom-based education (classroom education) at the Basic (EMT) level with a specific focus on clinically relevant basic anatomy and physiology. This should be limited to the knowledge and basics directly relevant to their scope of practice.
  6. To improve foundational clinical training in emergency care, all trainees should first achieve competencies and attain adequate field experience at a basic (EMT) provider level, before receiving additional training to higher qualifications (e.g. Intermediate Life Support (ILS) or Advanced Life Support (ALS).
  7. Higher-order and critical thinking skills need to be developed, by integrating basic knowledge and skills into real-world clinical scenarios, which should be heavily woven into all aspects of EMS training programs.

 

The challenges of being a paramedic in Kenya

 

Lack of an effective national ambulance service in Kenya has seen private firms and organisations take the lead in providing medical emergency services across the country.