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Appl Ergon. 2016 Sep;56:187-93. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2016.04.003. Epub 2016 Apr 16.

Patient acuity as a determinant of paramedics' frequency of being exposed to physically demanding work activities.

Author information

1
Queen's University, School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Kingston, ON, Canada.
2
Wilfrid Laurier University, Kinesiology & Physical Education, Waterloo, ON, Canada.
3
Queen's University, School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Kingston, ON, Canada; University of Waterloo, Department of Kinesiology, Waterloo, ON, Canada. Electronic address: steven.fischer@uwaterloo.ca.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The purpose of this investigation was to examine if paramedics' frequency of being exposed to highly physically demanding activities, or their perception of physical, clinical, and emotional demands were altered by patients' acuity level, operationalized using the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS).

METHODS:

Physical demands descriptions (PDD) were compiled from thirteen services across Canada. The observation sessions took place during a minimum of two full-shift (12-h) ride-outs at each service. Data were obtained from 53 ride-outs, which included a total of 190 calls.

RESULTS:

Higher urgency calls (CTAS level I or II) required significantly more stretcher handling, equipment handling, and intravenous (IV) work, also prompting higher ratings of perceived clinical, physical, and emotional demand. Independent of CTAS level, stretcher loading with patient (15.0%), horizontal patient transfer (13.7%), and pushing/pulling the stretcher with patient (13.1%) were identified as the most physically demanding tasks.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patient acuity is an important determinant affecting the frequency for which paramedics are exposed to work tasks with inherent ergonomic hazards (e.g., handling a stretcher with a patient). Patient acuity also affects paramedics' perceived clinical, physical, and emotional demands of a call.

KEYWORDS:

Emergency medical services; Injury prevention; Paramedics; Physical demands

PMID:
27184327
DOI:
10.1016/j.apergo.2016.04.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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