Research investigates EMS providers’ role in preventing patient PTSD

Newly trained EMS providers are asked to participate in a survey about recognizing and treating patients at risk of traumatic stress

PHILADELPHIA — Researchers are performing a study of EMS providers who have recently completed their training to evaluate providers’ knowledge and confidence regarding the assessment and prevention of post-traumatic stress in their patients.

Recent in-hospital studies have indicated that early identification and intervention can be crucial in the prevention and treatment of post-traumatic stress symptoms.

"We have found that when emergency providers adjust their behavior, vocabulary and overall approach toward ill and injured patients, they play a key role in reducing the psychological and emotional impact on patients and families," Joel Fein, MD, MPH, professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania, and lead researcher in this study, said.

In cases of traumatic injuries and medical emergencies, EMS providers are often the first medical authority figure with whom a patient will interact and are thus in a unique position to influence the long-term mental health of these patients through their interactions. However, this opportunity is relatively unexplored in most research.

The aim of this survey, which takes 10 minutes to complete, is to serve as a first step in this research.

Researchers hope to demonstrate not only the potential for EMS providers to play a key role in the prevention of PTSD, but also to inform targeted training efforts for future EMS providers.

Results will be disseminated broadly within EMS provider network websites and newsletters.


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