PTSD and Paramedic Research

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
4,855
1,187
113
The title of the study is “Self-taught cognitive resilience in paramedic workers: Is prevention as effective as treatment for trauma-related disorders?”

The prior psychological training aims to be cost-effective and time-flexible in order to fit in with the schedules and work demands of paramedics. A prototype of this may be available for forum users here to test.
How do you prevent PTSD in paramedics? How do you prevent people from seeing certain things? From remembering them? And as another poster said, it isn't just paramedics; many people in EMS (including the EMTs & 911 dispatchers) have been found to suffer form PTSD, so focusing on paramedics (which you might be using to describe anyone on an ambulance) might be limiting your focus a bit.

You can't unsee child abuse victims, you can't forget the smell of burning flesh, doing CPR in an infant, walking up and finding three shooting victims, two of whom are kids, one who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. You can't forget the time you walked up to the patient whose family called you to help him, only to have him attack your partner.

I look forward to seeing what your study finds
 

Remi

Forum Deputy Chief
Premium Member
3,814
2,439
113
How do you prevent PTSD in paramedics? How do you prevent people from seeing certain things? From remembering them? And as another poster said, it isn't just paramedics; many people in EMS (including the EMTs & 911 dispatchers) have been found to suffer form PTSD, so focusing on paramedics (which you might be using to describe anyone on an ambulance) might be limiting your focus a bit.

You can't unsee child abuse victims, you can't forget the smell of burning flesh, doing CPR in an infant, walking up and finding three shooting victims, two of whom are kids, one who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. You can't forget the time you walked up to the patient whose family called you to help him, only to have him attack your partner.

I look forward to seeing what your study finds
It isn’t about preventing paramedics from seeing certain things, and it isn’t about forgetting them. As he explained, the study is looking to see if prior conditioning might reduce the negative psychological impact of those experiences.
 

Summit

Critical Crazy
2,255
805
113
It isn’t about preventing paramedics from seeing certain things, and it isn’t about forgetting them. As he explained, the study is looking to see if prior conditioning might reduce the negative psychological impact of those experiences.
Exactly. Resiliency training is used elsewhere.

http://ajcc.aacnjournals.org/content/23/6/e97.full

"This mulitmodal resilience training program was feasible to conduct and acceptable to ICU nurses. Both nurses randomized to the treatment group and nurses randomized to the control group showed a significant decrease in PTSD symptom score after the intervention."

It's not exactly robust, but it is suggestive of a direction to be looking with more research such as what OP is doing.

 

TheScientist

Forum Probie
14
6
3
Some thoughts on the more recent posts here:

Several people noted that loud noises similar to the dispatch calls cause their heart rates to go up even while off work. I get that the alarms are suppose to get emergency workers fired up and ready asap, but it may be worth investigating and possibly changing it if it’s doing more harm in the long term. After a quick search, there doesn’t seem to be any research testing the possibility of changing the alarm types in order to see the effects. A follow-up study from this could be to look at different alarm types. Maybe use different types depending on how big the call appears to be, like ‘code red’ etc.

And yeah, the research above is similar to what I’m doing. The main focus at the moment is to test the possibility of providing some form of resilience training to trainee emergency workers to see if it has any effects on reducing PTSD symptomology later in their careers. A key difference is that the above study (like most similar studies) is using resilience training in those who already have PTSD symptomology. So they’re using it more like a cure than a prevention, while mine is testing the prevention rather than cure.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
4,855
1,187
113
I get that the alarms are suppose to get emergency workers fired up and ready asap, but it may be worth investigating and possibly changing it if it’s doing more harm in the long term.
then you don't get it at all. alarms are not supposed to get emergency workers fired up..... it is supposed to get their attention and possibly wake them from sleep, similar to an alarm clock. To my knowledge (and if someone knows more than me, please chime in), they aren't supposed to do anything other than notify a rescuer that there is a call for them to respond to.
 

Remi

Forum Deputy Chief
Premium Member
3,814
2,439
113
then you don't get it at all. alarms are not supposed to get emergency workers fired up..... it is supposed to get their attention and possibly wake them from sleep, similar to an alarm clock. To my knowledge (and if someone knows more than me, please chime in), they aren't supposed to do anything other than notify a rescuer that there is a call for them to respond to.
Really man? Lol
 

Jim37F

Forum Deputy Chief
3,197
1,778
113
When I worked for an FD that had station alert tones, there was the occasional talk about adjusting the tones volume, i.e. turn them down, so as to be less jarring, but still enough to wake you up. One station had notoriously quiet tones that were easy to miss, some of the firefighters said the only reason they woke up for middle of the night calls was because the lights were programmed to come on as well....amd there was also the occasional talk about that....i.e. some guys wanted dimmers on the lights so instead of snapping on they turned on gradually (over a second or two)....basically the general idea was to get the system tuned so that it woke you up over the course of a couple of seconds...vs jarring someone awake right then and there.
 

beaucait

Forum Crew Member
59
23
8
Dear Users,

I am currently a PhD student researching trauma and PTSD ...
For mental health, I have used many outlets to help myself in times that are tough. I used to go to the gym but quickly found that my anger or frustration through the day was being transferred into my workouts, causing me to go too hard and causing injuries... The gym is a good place but only if you are in the right mindset. I have seen some of the most mentally unhealthy people at the gym coping with problems much bigger than they can handle because they "can just work it out at the gym".

Dealing with mental illness such as post traumatic stress and anxiety are hard in everyday life.. considering the busy schedule people have. In spare time I usually journal, read or play guitar, paint, draw,... but sometimes you can get into a slump and just feel terrible and not want to do any of those things. I consider myself proactive regarding mental health. I have only been in EMS 2 years and I see myself dealing with trauma everyday....

I think that there is a significant lack of education regarding mental health and rehabilitation in some populations. Trauma and recivery is not easy. And let's be honest, who actually goes to a counselor for these issues. This could be a direct correlation to why rates of post traumatic stress are so high. Like someone else mentioned there is usually some kind of substance abuse component. I know for a while I was abusing marijuana and alcohol as my relaxation outlet. It definitely did not help and I became numb to what was going on around me. After educating myself about substance abuse, mental health, and trauma and recovery, I have learned healthy ways to cope.
Humor seems to work, as well as just talking about things to someone. Sometimes having a good support system can make all the difference.

I have also seen the incidence where EMS treat each other badly. The same goes for any healthcare profession. There is a standard and if you do not reach that standard you aren't good enough. I have had many a breakdown and failure due to people in healthcare being rude or inconsiderate. This is not saying that everyone is, but we need to incorporate and foster an environment for new EMS people to take steps to learn the ropes without being torn apart.

I was literally let go from an agency because they said "The other EMS personnel would eat you alive... you don't have enough experience".
That is all.. /endrant
 
Top