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Engaging emergency medical services to improve postacute management of behavioural health emergency calls: a protocol of a scoping literature review.

BMJ Open 2023 March 14
INTRODUCTION: The public health crisis of escalating mental health, behavioural and substance-related emergencies has revealed the need to approach these complex events from a health perspective, rather than the traditional criminal justice standpoint. Despite law enforcement officers often being the first responders to emergency calls concerning self or bystander harm, they are not optimally equipped to manage these crises holistically or to connect affected individuals to necessary medical treatment and social support. Paramedics and other emergency medical services (EMS) providers are well positioned to deliver comprehensive medicosocial care during and in the immediate aftermath of these emergencies, moving beyond their traditional role in emergency evaluation, stabilisation and transport to a higher level of care. The role of EMS in bridging this gap and helping shift emphasis to mental and physical health needs in crisis situations has not been examined in prior reviews.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: In this protocol, we delineate our approach to describing existing EMS programmes that focus specifically on supporting individuals and communities experiencing mental, behavioural and substance-related health crises. The databases to be searched are EBSCO CINAHL, Ovid Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Ovid Embase, Ovid Medline, Ovid PsycINFO and Web of Science Core Collection, with search date limits being from database inception to 14 July 2022. A narrative synthesis will be completed to characterise populations and situations targeted by the programmes, describe programme staffing and composition, detail the interventions and identify collected outcomes.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: All data in the review will be publicly accessible and published previously, so approval by a research ethics board is not needed. Our findings will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and shared with the public.


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