Evaluation of Mental Health Nurse Triage for Ambulance Service Patients with Mental Health Problems

The NIHR CLAHRC YH Avoiding Attendance and Admission in Long Term Conditions Theme including Rachel O’Hara, Andy Irving and Maxine Johnson at ScHARR, University of Sheffield, in collaboration with Angela Harris, Yorkshire Ambulance Service undertook this evaluation.

The aim of this evaluation was to explore the impact, perceptions and experiences of implementing mental health nurse triage in the Yorkshire Ambulance Service Emergency Operations Centre. This entailed interviews with twelve staff and analysis of computer aided dispatch (CAD) data. Preliminary impressions from the evaluation indicate that the triage nurses are increasingly managing patient issues over the phone to deliver ‘hear and treat responses’. Analysis of CAD data for calls categorised as ‘overdose/poisoning’ and ‘psychiatric/ suicide’ showed that rates for ambulance dispatch were lower for calls triaged by the mental health nurses. Perceived effectiveness of mental health nurse triage was attributed to the nurses’ established contacts and their ability to communicate inter-professionally with mental health services. Further evaluation and research is needed to examine this intervention in more detail, including service user experiences and the cost-benefits of implementing mental health nurse triage.

Report available at https://goo.gl/9igkxW