142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Expecting the unexpected: Assaults to EMTs/Paramedics

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014

Brittany Barnes, MPH, CHES , Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel University, School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Jennifer Taylor, PhD, MPH , Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Andrea Davis, MPH, CPH , Environmental and occupational health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Background: Annually, there are 700,000 assaults by patients on paramedics and EMTs in the United States (Munding, 2008). In an urban, inner city fire department this problem appears to have a disparate impact on female EMTs/Paramedics. Data from the Firefighter Injury Research and Safety Trends (FIRST) project  found an increased odds of female EMTs/Paramedics reporting “struck by” injuries compared to their male colleagues (OR:  6.48, 95%CI:  4.25-9.87, p<0.0001).  Purpose: The purpose of our research study was to investigate this gender disparity in injury and gain a better understanding of the experiences of EMTs/Paramedics who were assaulted while on on-duty. The intent was to develop recommendations for the fire department to prevent these injuries.  Methods: Our qualitative study conducted semi-structured individual interviews (n=4) and one focus group (n=5) with EMTs from a large, urban fire department and were assaulted while providing medical care. Grounded theory methods were used for data collection and preliminary data analysis. Results/Outcomes: EMTs/Paramedics discussed specific incidents of assaults while working in a medical capacity. Preliminary data analysis of transcripts identified six potential domains for exploration:  (1) potential risk factors, (2) psychological effects (3) patient expectations/use of services and (4) workplace policies, (5) training and (6) prevention opportunities. Conclusions: Gaining an in-depth understanding of this issue of assaults to EMTs provides a unique opportunity to develop prevention strategies to keep EMTs safe, as well as fill in the gap of qualitative research that currently exists on this topic.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety
Provision of health care to the public
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify potential risk factors and other catalysts of assaults to Paramedics and EMTs as they provide patient care. Describe the possible consequences of assaults to Paramedics and EMTs for both employees and the fire department.

Keyword(s): Occupational Health and Safety, Emergency Medical Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am employed as the Graduate Research Assistant on this project,investigating assaults to Paramedics/EMTs since the start of the project over one year ago.I began working on the project as a Fellow of an NIH grant to Drexel University to train students to become health disparities researchers.Through the fellowship, I gained extensive training on research methods.I have been involved in every aspect of this study,such as interview guide development, data collection and qualitative analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.