Preserving the health of ambulance personnel : some preliminary results from a study of pre-hospital emergency interventions


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Inproceedings: an article in a conference proceedings.
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Abstract (Abstract): shot summary in a article that contain essentials elements presented during a scientific conference, lecture or from a poster.
Preserving the health of ambulance personnel : some preliminary results from a study of pre-hospital emergency interventions
Title of the conference
Genes and Diseases, CHUV Research Day, January 29, 2009
Pichonnaz Lauriane, Arial Marc, Benoît Damien, Danuser Brigitta
Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et de médecine
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Little is known about the health of ambulance personnel, especially in Switzerland. This lack of knowledge is particularly striking in the specific field of occupational health. This study aims to identify and better understand protective and risk factors affecting the health of ambulance personnel. Both mental and physical health are considered. The approach used comprised two steps. The first step began in July 2008 and consisted in a qualitative study of real work activities performed by ambulance crews involved in pre-hospital emergency interventions. Researchers shadowed ambulance personnel for the duration of their entire work shift, in average for one week. The paper-pen technique was used to note dialogues, interactions, postural aspects, etc. When the situation allowed it, interventions were filmed. Some selected video sequences were used as a support for selfconfrontation interviews. Observations were performed by three researchers and took place in eleven services, for a total of 416 hours of observations (including 72 interventions + waiting time). Analysis, conducted by a multidisciplinary team (an ergonomist, an occupational therapist and a health psychologist), focused on individual and collective strategies used by ambulance personnel to protect their health. The second step, which is currently ongoing, aims to assess global health of ambulance personnel. A questionnaire is used to gather information about musculoskeletal complaints (Nordic questionnaire), mental health (GHQ-12), stress (Effort-Reward imbalance questionnaire), strategies implemented to cope with stress (Brief COPE), and working conditions. Specific items on strategies were developed based on observational data. It will be sent to all ambulance personnel employed in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Preliminary analyses show different types of strategies used by ambulance personnel to preserve their health. These strategies involve postural aspects (e.g. use doorframe as a support to ease delicate manipulations), work environment adaptations (e.g. move furniture to avoid awkward postures), coping strategies (e.g. humor), as well as organisational (e.g. formal and informal debriefing) and collective (e.g. cooperation) mechanisms. In-depth analysis is still ongoing. However, patient safety and comfort, work environment and available resources appear to influence the choice of strategies ambulance personnel use. As far as possible, the strategies identified will be transformed into educational materials for professional ambulance personnel.
Allied Health Occupations , Health Occupations , Wounds and Injuries , Accidents , Occupational Health , Musculoskeletal Diseases , Mental Health
Create date
27/01/2010 12:20
Last modification date
20/08/2019 15:56
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