In case of emergencies please ring 999/112

Pathfinder expanded to Kilkenny, Cork and Letterkenny

A HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS) led service called Pathfinder, designed to safely keep older people who phone 112/999 in their own home rather than taking them to a hospital emergency department, has been expanded to Cork, Letterkenny and Kilkenny in recent weeks.

Pathfinder improves outcomes for older people by providing safe alternative care at home rather than in hospital and will be provided by National Ambulance Service staff working with colleagues from relevant hospitals.

Pathfinder has been working as a collaborative service between NAS and Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital Occupational Therapy & Physiotherapy Departments for more than two years and also went live in Limerick, Tallaght and Waterford in October 2022.

Robert Morton, Director of the HSE National Ambulance Service said the expansion of the NAS Pathfinder Model is part of a plan to offer different groups of patients an alternative pathway other than presenting to a busy emergency department.

“NAS is very pleased that this service has now been further expanded and we are delighted to be working with our partners in relevant hospitals who have agreed to support the expansion of the Pathfinder model.  NAS Pathfinder is improving outcomes for older people by minimising unnecessary ED attendances and offering safe alternative care pathways for older people in their own homes rather than in hospital.”

The Pathfinder ‘Rapid Response Team’ respond to 999/112 calls for older people (65 years and older) in their homes. The older person is assessed by both an Advanced Paramedic and Occupational Therapist/Physiotherapist.  Where safe, the team supports the older person at home rather than transporting them to emergency department, by linking with a wide range of alternative hospital and community services. Pathfinder also operates a ‘Follow-Up Team’ (Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy) which provides immediate home-based rehabilitation, equipment provision and case-management in the subsequent days following a 999/112 call.

On average two thirds of patients seen by Pathfinder following a 999 call have remained at home rather than being brought to the Emergency Department.