School of Medical and Health Sciences
Community paramedicine is a globally evolving model of care where paramedics provide community-based, preventative and primary healthcare services. With increased global interest and adaptation of the community paramedicine model, there is a lack of a clear definition of the role of a community paramedic. This study sought to come to an international consensus on the definition of a community paramedic. A four-phase Delphi methodology was utilised to achieve a global consensus on the definition of a community paramedic. A systematic approach to expert identification was performed and reported in line with the Conducting and REporting of DElphi Studies standard. A total of 94 community paramedicine experts were identified and 76 experts consented to involvement in this Delphi. Response rate ranged from 81.6% (Phase 1) to 63.1% (Phase 2). Participants expressed the importance of community paramedic definition having components attributed to primary health care, health promotion, chronic disease management and advanced clinical assessment. Participants expressed that these are essential components of the community paramedic skill set, which distinguishes the role from other frontline paramedics. A final consensus with 91% agreement on the definition of a community paramedic was achieved. The four-phase Delphi achieved consensus on the definition of a community paramedic as follows: A community paramedic provides person-centred care in a diverse range of settings that address the needs of the community. Their practice may include the provision of primary health care, health promotion, disease management, clinical assessment and needs-based interventions. They should be integrated with interdisciplinary healthcare teams which aim to improve patient outcomes through education, advocacy and health system navigation. The adoption of the global consensus on the definition of a community paramedic will enhance efforts to promote the value of this specialist role, enabling a better understanding of how a community paramedic contributes to the wider healthcare system.
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