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Firefighters represent an important population for understanding the consequences of exposure to potentially traumatic stressors.
The researchers were interested in the effects of pre-employment disaster exposure on firefighter recruits’ depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms during the first three years of fire service and hypothesized that: (1) disaster-exposed firefighters would have greater depression and PTSD symptoms than non-exposed overall; and (2) depression and PTSD symptoms would worsen over years in fire service in exposed firefighters, but not in their unexposed counterparts.
In a baseline interview, 35 male firefighter recruits from seven US cities reported lifetime exposure to natural disaster. These disaster-exposed male firefighter recruits were matched on age, city, and education with non-exposed recruits.
A generalized linear mixed model revealed a significant exposure×time interaction (ecoef =1.04; P<.001), such that depression symptoms increased with time for those with pre-employment disaster exposure only. This pattern persisted after controlling for social support from colleagues (ecoefficient=1.05; P<.001), social support from families (ecoefficient=1.04; P=.001), and on-the-job trauma exposure (coefficient=0.06; ecoefficient=1.11; P<.001). Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms did not vary significantly between exposure groups at baseline (P=.61).
Depression symptoms increased with time for those with pre-employment disaster exposure only, even after controlling for social support. Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms did not vary between exposure groups.
PenningtonML, CarpenterTP, SynettSJ, TorresVA, TeagueJ, MorissetteSB, KnightJ, KamholzBW, KeaneTM, ZimeringRT, GulliverSB. The Influence of Exposure to Natural Disasters on Depression and PTSD Symptoms among Firefighters. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(1):102–108.
There are still substantial uncertainties over best practice in delirium care. The European Delirium Association (EDA) conducted a survey of its members and other interested parties on various aspects of delirium care.
The invitation to participate in the online survey was distributed among the EDA membership. The survey covered assessment, treatment of hyperactive and hypoactive delirium, and organizational management.
A total of 200 responses were collected (United Kingdom 28.6%, Netherlands 25.3%, Italy 15%, Switzerland 9.7%, Germany 7.1%, Spain 3.8%, Portugal 2.5%, Ireland 2.5%, Sweden 0.6%, Denmark 0.6%, Austria 0.6%, and others 3.2%). Most of the responders were doctors (80%), working in geriatrics (45%) or internal medicine (14%). Ninety-two per cent of the responders assessed patients for delirium daily. The most commonly used assessment tools were the Confusion Assessment Method (52%) and the Delirium Observation Screening Scale (30%). The first-line choice in the management of hyperactive delirium was a combination of non-pharmacological and pharmacological approaches (61%). Conversely, non-pharmacological management was the first-line choice in hypoactive delirium (67%). Delirium awareness (34%), knowledge (33%), and lack of education (13%) were the most commonly reported barriers to improving the detection of delirium. Interestingly, 63% of the responders referred patients after an episode of delirium to a follow-up clinic.
This is the first systematic survey involving an international group of specialists in delirium. Several areas of lack of consensus were found. These results emphasise the importance of further research to improve care of this major unmet medical need.
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