NAEMT Publishes Two New Position Statements on Safety and Wellness
Clinton, Miss. — Recognizing the need to advocate for safety and wellness both on behalf of EMS practitioners as well as the patients they serve, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) has released two new position statements: “EMS Patient Safety and Wellness” and “EMS Practitioner Safety and Wellness.”
EMS Patient Safety and Wellness
This statement addresses the fact that over the past 10 years, although much attention has been paid to tracking, preventing and addressing errors in medical settings, there remains a lack of specific, evidence-based principles addressing patient safety in EMS. EMS practitioners provide various treatments to their patients, often in adverse or challenging environments — and serious challenges exist in ensuring patients’ safety during treatment in these environments. In the statement, NAEMT supports the development of a culture of safety in all EMS systems in our nation and states its commitmentto advocating for the safest practices and regulations that protect and promote EMS patient safety and wellness.
This requires that federal and state EMS laws and regulations specifically address a systematic approach to patient safety and error accountability; adequate funding for the research of patient safety issues specific to EMS response; development of error reporting and tracking systems in EMS systems for workplace patient safety, clinical or medication errors and inappropriate use or failure of equipment used in patient assessment and treatment; and quality assurance programs that include patient safety issues and provide clear guidelines for clinical improvement and preventative safety measures, among other issues.
EMS Practitioner Safety and Wellness
In this statement, NAEMT notes that the vital, life-saving care that EMS practitioners provide patients is often performed in risk-filled environments. The fatality rate for EMS practitioners is more than twice the national average for other occupations, and the nonfatal occupational injury rate is five times higher than the average for health care workers in general.
Because of the degree of danger that EMS practitioners face daily, NAEMT is committed to advocating for the safest practices and regulations that protect and promote their health and wellness. These include enforceable legislation and regulations at the federal and state levels that specify safety practices and protective equipment and preventive interventions, such as immunizations, appropriate for the anticipated risks the practitioners may encounter; employer-provided current information and training about specific hazards in the workplace and available protective practices, equipment and safety procedures; provision of effective patient moving equipment and procedures that minimize the very significant risk of lifting and moving exertion injuries; regulations on length of work shifts, and more.
“Statistics, as well as the personal experience of our members, illustrate how risky an occupation EMS can be. Because of the volatile environments in which we practice, both practitioners and patients can face a degree of danger. We are proud to be a leader in advocating for the health and safety of our practitioners and the patients we serve,” says NAEMT President Patrick Moore. “NAEMT supports regulations being put into place at local and state levels to ensure a culture of safety in patient treatment, as well as state and employer policies that protect and promote the health and wellness of EMS practitioners.”
To access the full position statements, please visit the NAEMT Positions page in the Advocacy section of www.naemt.org.
Formed in 1975 and today more than 30,000 members strong, NAEMT is the nation’s only association representing the professional interests of all EMS practitioners, including paramedics, emergency medical technicians, first responders and other professionals working in pre-hospital emergency medicine. NAEMT members work in all sectors of EMS, including government service agencies, fire departments, hospital-based ambulance services, private companies, industrial and special operations settings, and in the military.