What clinical crew competencies and qualifications are required for helicopter emergency medical services - A review of the literature
journal contributionposted on 19.10.2020, 11:10 by Siobhán Masterson, Conor Deasy, Mark Doyle, Shane Knox, Jan Sorensen
Background: Patients served by Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) tend to be acutely injured or unwell and in need of stabilisation followed by rapid and safe transport. It is therefore hypothesised that a particular clinical crew composition is required to provide appropriate HEMS patient care. A literature review was performed to test this hypothesis.
Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were systematically searched from 1 January 2009 to 30 August 2019 to identify peer-reviewed articles of relevance. All HEMS studies that mentioned ‘staffing’, ‘configuration’, ‘competencies’ or ‘qualifications’ in the title or abstract were selected for full-text review.
Results: Four hundred one studies were identified. Thirty-eight studies, including one systematic review and one
randomised controlled trial, were included. All remaining studies were of an observational design. The vast majority of studies described clinical crews that were primarily doctor-staffed. Descriptions of non-doctor staff competencies were limited, with the exception of one paramedic-staffed model.
Conclusions: HEMS clinical crews tended to have a wider range of competencies and experience than ground-based
crews, and most studies suggested a patient outcome benefit to HEMS provision. The conclusions that can be drawn are limited due to study quality and the possibility that the literature reviewed was weighted towards particular crewing models (i.e. primarily doctor-staffed) and countries. There is a need for trial-based studies that directly compare patient outcomes between different HEMS crews with different competencies and qualifications.
CommentsThe original article is available at https://sjtrem.biomedcentral.com/
Published CitationMasterson S, Deasy C, Doyle M, Hennelly D, Knox S, Sorensen J. What clinical crew competencies and qualifications are required for helicopter emergency medical services? A review of the literature. Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine. 2020;28(1):28
Publication Date16th April 2020
- Health Outcomes Research Centre
- Published Version (Version of Record)