Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance are able to lead and contribute to research in pre-hospital care; enhancing critical care now and for the future. Research takes time to develop and has been made possible by the generous support and investment of the charity.

Over the past year, our research team have been working on a number of projects alongside our partners: Research in Emergency Care, Avon Collaborative Hub, The Emergency and Urgent Care Research Theme at University of the West of England and The University of Southampton.

After Care

We have been developing some research investigating the role of the patient and family liaison practitioner (PFLP) within air ambulance services. Although PFLPs have been a relatively recent addition to air ambulances in the UK, DSAA has been providing the service since 2018.

The role of the PFLPs is to support patients (who have been treated by our team) with their long-term recovery. They aim to bridge the gap from the traumatic scene of injury or illness, supporting patients during their recovery both within hospital and when they leave. Patients often have no recollection of being treated by the air ambulance team and if they wish, any treatment given can sensitively be explained. PFLPs can also refer patients for ongoing care and link the patient and/or their families to relevant support networks.

It is important for us to research the work of the PFLPs, as there is currently no evidence base for the role in an air ambulance setting. Before we can develop research in this area, it is necessary to understand what is happening on a national scale and which air ambulance services have implemented the role in practice, as well as exploring some of the perceived benefits. We have done this by completing a national mapping exercise of the role, which was formally published in a peer reviewed journal in June 2022. As a team, we are now looking to develop further research in this area.

Trauma Emergency Thoracotomy for Resuscitation In Shock (TETRIS)

DSAA is also involved in TETRIS; a national audit of thoracotomy practice in trauma cases, in an out of hospital setting. Thoracotomy is an emergency surgical procedure which can be performed when a patient has suffered cardiac arrest or impending cardiac arrest from a penetrating chest injury.

This audit will continue throughout 2022 and end in February 2023.

Pre-hospital Research and Audit Network (PRANA) - A national clinical audit of pre-hospital critical care

The PRANA programme is based within the University of Southampton. PRANA proposes to develop a national clinical audit of pre-hospital critical care to serve as a national collaborative asset. It aims to provide a highquality clinical registry of pre-hospital critical care activity in the UK.

Critically, this registry will be linked to existing national audits of critical care, trauma and out of hospital cardiac arrest, as well as NHS longitudinal outcome data. In doing so, PRANA aims to support operational analysis, service evaluation, clinical audit and provide a basis for research and development. The intention is to improve patient care with the support of data.

The PRANA programme is being developed by a national collaborative team of Mike Hepburn, James Bachelor, Phil Hyde, Rod Mackenzie, Mike Eddie, Rob Crouch and John Pappachan.

Other research areas

DSAA has identified a number of other areas that would benefit from research. We are currently in the process of forming a Public and Patient Engagement Group, to represent the population we serve in the planning, development, delivery, analysis and dissemination of our research activities. This is an extremely exciting area of development and one where we hope to share more information with you in due course.