Pathfinder is an alternative care pathway for the older community within the Beaumount Hospital catchment area in Dublin.
Pathfinder is a Sláintecare funded project and sees the National Ambulance Service, Allied Health Professionals from Beaumont Hospital, and Dublin Fire Brigade working together to respond and treat older people in their home.
When a 112/999 emergency call is received, a staff member assess whether the response required meets the triage criteria to allow the call to access the Pathfinder Service. This innovative service enables staff treat and assess the patient as well as provide the appropriate supports and follow up care to the patient, so that the patient does not need to be transported to a busy Emergency Department to receive care.
This is proving to be a much better experience for the patient as well as for staff, as they know that the patient has received appropriate care in a timely manner.
To date Pathfinder has treated 178 older 999/112 callers at home rather than transporting them to the Emergency Department. The average age of these patients is 82 years.
Minister Donnelly said: “I am delighted that this innovative service is allowing vulnerable patients in the Beaumont Hospital catchment area avoid an unnecessary attendance to the Emergency Department, and potentially, admission to hospital.”
“Importantly, receiving treatment and support at home allows patients benefit from a mental health, clinical and functional perspective as required. This service keeps older persons in the comfort of the familiar surroundings of home where they can be managed safely and avoid unnecessary presentation to an Emergency Department.”
The service is funded through the Sláintecare Integration Fund and is changing the current model of care from one of transport to ED, to a model that treats people at the scene and provides therapeutic intervention at home and onward referral to appropriate agencies, thus avoiding an emergency presentation to hospital.
Minister Donnelly said: “The overwhelmingly positive feedback from patients and families confirm that this kind of service works for patients by addressing their care needs in a considered, compassionate way, in these unprecedented and difficult times.”
“It relieves pressure within the Emergency Departments where our frontline workers are working so hard to deliver both COVID-19 and non-COVID care safely. The Pathfinder Service supports increased ED capacity to care for other patients, by supporting this cohort of complex, frail patients at home. The service is utilising a whole network of dedicated and expert community health resources, working together to ensure patients are managed safely at home. I want to thank all of the GPs, Community Intervention Teams, Public Health Nurses, Geriatricians, and NGOs who continue to deliver expert compassionate care to our vulnerable loved ones.”
Some of the feedback from patients includes:
“A wonderful service.”
“Beautiful service for older people – If I ever had to be attended to again, I know I’ll be in good hands.”
“It meant a lot to me and my wife, especially the follow ups.”