Abstract 269: How Much Exposure to Resuscitation Do Emergency Medical Services Personnel Get?
Objectives: The exposure of emergency medical service personnel (paramedics) to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) and resuscitation procedures could be an important factor in skill maintenance and quality of care. This study aims to describe paramedic exposure to OHCA resuscitation in the state of Victoria, Australia (population 5.8 million).
Methods: We extracted and linked data from the Victorian Ambulance Cardiac Arrest Registry (VACAR) and Ambulance Victoria’s employment dataset for the period 2003-2012. Paramedics were considered to have ‘exposure’ to OHCA if they attended a case where resuscitation was attempted. Individual rates were calculated for annual exposure (number of OHCA exposures for each paramedic/years employed in study period) and days between exposures (total paramedic days/total number of exposures).
Results: Over the 10-year period, there were 49,107 OHCAs and 5,673 paramedics employed. Resuscitation was attempted in 44% of patients. An average of 3.2 (SD±1.1) paramedics attended each case. The median average exposure of paramedics was 2.2 (IQR=1.2-3.5) OHCAs/year. The proportion with no exposures in a year increased from 39% in 2003 to 43% in 2012 (p=0.036). OHCA exposure was significantly less in those employed part-time or casual (p<0.001), in a rural area (p<0.001) or with a lower qualification (p<0.001) (Table). Annual exposure to pediatric and traumatic OHCAs was particularly low (Table). Paramedics were exposed to an average of 0.006 OHCAs/day, meaning it would take an average of 163 days be exposed to OHCA and up to 12.5 years for rare cases, such as pediatric OHCAs.
Conclusion: Our study identified paramedic exposure to resuscitation is low and has decreased over time. This highlights the importance of supplementing paramedic exposure with other methods, such as simulation, to maintain resuscitation skills. This may be particularly important to paramedics with low exposure and for rare case types, such as pediatric OHCA.
Author Disclosures: K. Dyson: None. J. Bray: None. K. Smith: None. S. Bernard: None. L. Straney: None. J. Finn: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.