OHS for Emergency Medicine
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Making EMS Safer

A new degree program aims to teach paramedics how to effectively mitigate the risks of the job
Amanda Walsh's insight:

This is a great article outlining a brand new EMS Occupational Health and Safety bachelor degree. Created by our very own Professor Brian Maguire, this CQUniversity degree is the first of its kind. In this article Professor Maguire touches on the importance of EMS OHS, and the dangers that paramedics around the world face in their pursuit to help people in need.

 

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder | OHS for Emergency Medicine | Scoop.it
“Paramedics see more trauma, death and tragedy than most front line soldiers”. This recent news article quote says it all. Paramedic levels of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are soaring. Int...
Amanda Walsh's insight:

Paramedics are at great risk of developing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by the very nature of their everyday job. They have very little time to prepare for the job they are responding to and often walk into scenes that they could never have prepared for anyway. This not only relates to the obviously traumatic jobs as described in this article, but also to the seemingly small jobs that may trigger something for that individual, something in their personal life that others may not share. It is vital that the Ambulance Service provides support to these people from the beginning. Paramedics need to know there is someone they can turn to no matter the situation. The obviously traumatic jobs should trigger an automatic activation of these support services, however, access should be open to all paramedics, at all times, for anything they wish to talk about. In my experience their great culture within QAS which enables paramedics to talk through jobs together and support each other. Sometimes this is enough. Sometimes however it is not and further support needs to be made available.

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Dr. Daniel Patterson on fatigue and safety problems among EMS Workers - YouTube

Lead researcher P. Daniel Patterson, Ph.D., an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, discusses a new ...
Amanda Walsh's insight:

This is an interesting insight into the effects of fatigue on both paramedics and their patients. I would be very interested to read the results of the full study. The study has not shown what is the biggest contributor to fatigue. This is something that needs to be researched in order assist paramedics in combating fatigue and its adverse effects.

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Health and Safety information - Workplace Health and Safety Queensland

Health and Safety information - Workplace Health and Safety Queensland | OHS for Emergency Medicine | Scoop.it
Amanda Walsh's insight:

This page shows the most common injuries suffered by paramedics in the course of doing their job. Not surprisingly back injuries are the most common. The role of a paramedic requires a large amount of lifting and bending. Paramedics need to be sure they are undertaking these activities correctly and safely. The organisation needs to ensure that they are supplying the appropriate training and equipment for paramedics to practice safely.

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Study finds paramedics face abuse on the job - St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Region, Sun Media - Ontario, CA

Study finds paramedics face abuse on the job - St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Region, Sun Media - Ontario, CA | OHS for Emergency Medicine | Scoop.it

"Most paramedics see verbal abuse as one of the pitfalls of the job.

They try not to be hurt by it.

Many don't even report it.

A new study found that more than two-thirds of paramedics surveyed have experienced verbal, physical or sexual abuse on the job. The majority — 67.4% — reported being verbally abused.

"They do encounter verbal abuse and sometimes it can be physical abuse," said Niagara EMS community education and awareness officer Steve Malone.

While physical assault isn't commonplace for paramedics in Niagara, he said it's not unheard of.

"We deal with people who are under so much stress, sometimes they lash out because they don't know how to handle it."

He said in his 26 years in the field, in four different provinces, he was verbally abused repeatedly and punched at least twice.

Malone recalled an intoxicated patient who punched him in the face, giving him a bloody nose. It happened while he was working in northern Manitoba.

In another incident, a man he was trying to help hit him in the chest. Later, the man made a point to apologize for his actions.

"We understand it's not that the individual wants to hurt us, it's the medical condition," he said. "(But) in my book, that doesn't make it right."

Not all incidents of violence are perpetrated by patients. Sometimes family members, friends or bystanders lash out against paramedics, the study found. ..."

Amanda Walsh's insight:

The physical abuse of paramedics is often spoken about, however, the much more common verbal abuse is often ignored. As officer Malone says, this has a large part to do with the culture of paramedics in which they see this abuse as 'part of the job'. Unfortunately the verbal abuse of paramedics is so common that it is now expected by many paramedics and not reported. Everyday paramedics go to work to help people in their time of need, they should not have to stand for any type of abuse.

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Paramedic Care I Illness and injury prevention - YouTube

Delmar: Foundations of Paramedic Care Vol 1 ch 8
Amanda Walsh's insight:

Illness and injury prevention should be of high priority to every paramedic. Paramedics are at risk of both acute and chronic illness and injury by the nature of their job. Resources such as this one educate both paramedics and organisations on this vital topic. I believe it is important for paramedics to educate themselves for their own well being, as well to enable them to assist their colleagues.

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Dr Baranowsky speaks about EMS Secondary Trauma - YouTube

Emergency responders can experience a Secondary Traumatic Stress as a result of their helping work.
Amanda Walsh's insight:

This is another fantastic insight into the effects of fatigue on the paramedic. I especially like the phrase Dr Baranowsky uses t describe the importance of paramedics understanding how to manage their our fatigue, 'this is a necessity not a luxury item'. I think this drives home the importance for paramedics to maintain their own health and well being as well as pointing out the responsibility that health care organisations have to teach their officers effective fatigue management techniques, and support them in applying these.

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How To Overcome The Negative Effects Of Shift Work

How To Overcome The Negative Effects Of Shift Work | OHS for Emergency Medicine | Scoop.it
In addition to long-term effects, shifting your sleep has an immediate impact on how you feel and function. If you are unable to change your work time, you can still minimize the short-term negative effects of shifting your sleep schedule with behavi...
Amanda Walsh's insight:

Working in the pre-hospital emergency medicine field, shift work is 

inevitable for paramedics. This article has some great techniques for some of the adverse effects caused by working in this way. However, the technique of not swapping which shifts you participate in is not possible for paramedics. Most paramedics in Australia work on a roster that includes both day and night shifts, or even on call shifts. For these situations it is important to utalise as many other techniques as possible in order to maintain your own health. Maintaining healthy habits in relation to shift work is also important in managing fatigue, thereby increasing the safety of paramedics when they are on road.

 

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Esterhazy man calls for rural road signs

Esterhazy man calls for rural road signs | OHS for Emergency Medicine | Scoop.it
Greg Hemming believes the numbers of all grid roads displayed on signs could have saved his aunt’s life. Wanda Tayfel lived outside of Esterhazy and died while waiting for an ambulance in January.
Amanda Walsh's insight:

Road signs and house numbers are vital in paramedics quickly and safely reaching their patients. The more a driver needs to focus on fining road signs, house numbers and working out where they actually are, the less focus they have on the task of driving. In rural areas especially road signs are often never erected or are damaged and never replaced. They can also be obscured by trees. Once the paramedics focus is removed from the road their safety and that of others on the road is jeopardised. Making sure road signs and house numbers are clearly visable and able to be read increases the safety of paramedics and assists in decreasing response times.

 

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Alcohol no excuse for assault of paramedic

Alcohol no excuse for assault of paramedic | OHS for Emergency Medicine | Scoop.it

e A MAN who slammed his fist into the back of a paramedic as she knelt to adjust his wheelchair at Orange hospital has been handed a suspended jail sentence in Orange Local Court and ordered to undertake 200 hours of community service.


Via Lives Lived Well
Amanda Walsh's insight:

It is unfortunate but all too common that paramedics worldwide are subjected to abuse from the people they are trying to help. Much of this abuse is alcohol and/or drug fueled. The statement by this Magistrate that "alcohol is no excuse for this type of behaviour" is a great truth. Hopefully more judges worldwide agree with this statement and punish offenders accordingly. There is never an excuse to assault someone who's sole purpose is to help you.

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