1. Evidence-based fatigue management guidelines
NASEMSO teamed up with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine to perform a comprehensive evaluation to provide recommendations on how to fight EMS fatigue, such as napping during shifts and using caffeine.
The guidelines recommend five practices:
- Use of fatigue/sleepiness surveys to measure and monitor EMS personnel fatigue.
- Limit EMS shifts to less than 24 hours in duration.
- Provide EMS personnel access to caffeine to help stave off fatigue.
- Allow EMS personnel the opportunity to nap while on duty.
- Provide education and training in fatigue risk management to EMS personnel.
Sara A. Jahnke, Ph.D., director of the Center for Fire, Rescue and EMS Health Research at the National Development and Research Institutes writes for EMS1.com:
“While, on the surface, the recommendations appear rather simple and intuitive, the process used to develop them and the implications for current and future practice should not be understated.”
“This landmark work goes beyond a list of recommendations. It summarizes and weighs the pros and cons that should be considered when implementing each recommendation.”
Call to action for leaders and field personnel: “from both the top down and the bottom up to begin considering ways to improve the environments and practices to reduce risk to patients, communities and EMS personnel themselves.”
Get some rest, exercise often, eat well, take a nap and coffee YES!
Sleep is the solution: Dave Konig, the Social Medic, make an important point about caffeine: “Caffeine should be consumed in moderation and as a tool to mitigate fatigue, it is NOT a solution for it. The only safe and proven solution for fatigue is in fact sleep.”
2. Machines and AI for 911 callers
An Artificial Intelligence assistant is on the line with “Copenhagen (Denmark) dispatchers to analyze the caller’s words and background clues in order to determine if the caller is suffering from cardiac arrest and alert the dispatcher in real time.”
Early recognition of cardiac arrest, especially determining that agonal breathing is not actually breathing, is one of the critical steps to initiating dispatcher-assisted CPR.
Words matter: A just published study, “‘She’s sort of breathing’: What linguistic factors determine call-taker recognition of agonal breathing in emergency calls for cardiac arrest?” concluded:
“There is potential for improved recognition of agonal breathing if call-takers are trained to be alert to any qualification following a confirmation that the patient is breathing.”
Shaving a few seconds off call taker recognition with an AI assistant could increase a community’s cardiac arrest survival rate.