LIVES Responders are trained to deliver early Basic Life Support and early Defibrillation. In addition, they provide patient assessment, oxygen therapy and general patient care.
Why is a rapid response by LIVES Responders so important?
Following a Cardiac Arrest, the chance of survival decreases by over 10% for every minute of delay until help arrives. After 8 minutes (which is the government response target for ambulance trusts), survival is less than 5%. Our responders are located within communities to increase the chance of attending a patient within that 8 minute window, increasing the chance of providing life saving treatment.
In 2015 LIVES members have attended over 15,000 calls, 196 of which were cardiac arrests with 38 of those surviving. Our average response time in 2015 was 4 minutes 15 seconds. This means that in towns and villages where there is a First Responder group, the chance of survival following Cardiac Arrest has increased to 35%. (To see the other types of emergencies that out volunteers attend please visit Our Volunteers).
The patient's vital signs are the first information assessed by a LIVES First Responder. This information is recorded on a Patient Report Form (PRF) along with other important patient details and treatment given by the Responder.
- Response - is the patient responsive?
- Airway - is it clear? Can air get into the lungs?
- Breathing - is the patient breathing normally? Is air getting into the lungs?
- Circulation - does the patient have a pulse? Is the heart pumping blood around the body
- Pulse Rate
- Oxygen Saturation %
Other important information includes:
- Past history of medical problems
- Prescribed Drugs taken by the patient
- Any known allergies
A copy of the PRF is given to the attending ambulance crew and sent to hospital with the patient. The other copy is returned to LIVES HQ where the Clinical Team analyse and log the activity of LIVES members. This information is combined with the computerised callout data received from ambulance control and collated into STATISTICS, which are regularly monitored to ensure that LIVES continues to provide a highly effective emergency care service.
All patient data is subject to the Data Protection Act and is held securely at LIVES HQ
The 2004 ScHARR report undertaken by the University of Sheffield Medical Research Unit investigated the utility of the service:
- LIVES activity is increasing over time as the number of schemes also continues to increase. Up to 25% of ambulance service category A calls now receive a LIVES response and for 80% of these calls the LIVES response arrives first on scene
- LIVES improves response time performance by 35% in the rural areas where they provide a service thus contributing to the provision of an equitable service for life-threatening category A calls
- The return to spontaneous circulation rate of patients in cardiac arrest is 20% for cases attended by LIVES and receiving defibrillation. Response times to these cases are considerably shorter than the first ambulance service response
- Users of the ambulance service who receive a LIVES response show a high level of satisfaction with the LIVES service
The NHS Improvement network recognises the significant contributions made by LIVES volunteers:
"This has been an innovative way of using locally available resources, at minimal cost, to improve patient outcomes for life threatening conditions in an environment where continued annual increases in demand for emergency ambulance services produce further pressure on already stretched resources"
A 2011 independent review by the University of Sheffield speaks highly of the service: