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Physical health of psychiatric inpatients is worse than the general population. Physical health monitoring of these patients can have positive effects on outcomes. Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) states that a physical health assessment (PHA) should be completed within 72 hours of admission. This comprises a physical health form (PHF) and minimum data set (MDS): BP, BMI, TB and BBV status, alcohol and drug screen, smoking status, Hba1c and lipids. In a 2017 audit, compliance was shown to need improvement, with 28.3% of admissions not having a PHF documented.
To assess whether PHAs for new admissions to the Oleaster, Birmingham during the first wave of COVID-19 were completed in line with trust policy
To compare findings with a previous audit
To make recommendations to improve inpatient physical health and compliance with trust policy
A retrospective audit was conducted, with PHA details accessed via the electronic medical records system RiO. Admissions from 16/03/2020-30/06/2020 were accessed and 158 admissions (155 patients) were included. 21 admissions were excluded as they were internal transfers; only data from the initial admission were included. Data were collected by 2 medical students and a psychiatry trainee using a data collection tool. Data were recorded and analysed on Excel.
Of 158 admissions, 81 had PHFs (51.3%). 59 were completed within 72 hours of admission (34.3%); 39 were completed fully (24.7%). Of incomplete PHFs, 2 explicitly stated incompletion due to COVID-19. 22 PHFs were created but not completed within 72 hours. 15 gave a deferral reason e.g., refusal to consent or agitation. For 77 admissions (47.3%), no assessment was documented, with no reason given.
2 admissions (1.3%) recorded the full MDS within 72 hours of admission.
2 admissions (1.3%) had fully complete PHAs (PHF and MDS) within 72 hours of admission, fulfilling trust policy.
51.3% of admissions had a PHF, with 34.3% documented within 72 hours of admission. However, only 1.3% of admissions fulfilled trust policy of both a completed PHF and MDS within 72 hours of admission. There were more admissions without a PHF than in the previous 2017 audit; 47.33% compared to 28.3% previously. Given trust targets that a PHA should be fully completed for 100% of admissions, it was found that the Oleaster did not meet these guidelines during this period and improvements must be made to maintain integrity of patient care.
First responders are at greater risk of mental ill health and compromised well-being compared to the general population. It is important to identify strategies that will be effective in supporting mental health, both during and after the first responder’s career.
A scoping review was conducted using the PubMed database (1966 to October 1, 2020) and the Google Scholar database (October 1, 2020) using relevant search terms, truncation symbols, and Boolean combination functions. The reference lists of all relevant publications were also reviewed to identify further publications.
A total of 172 publications were retrieved by the combined search strategies. Of these, 56 met the inclusion criteria and informed the results of this overview paper. These publications identified that strategies supporting first responder mental health and well-being need to break down stigma and build resilience. Normalizing conversations around mental health is integral for increasing help-seeking behaviors, both during a first responder’s career and in retirement. Organizations should consider the implementation of both pre-retirement and post-retirement support strategies to improve mental health and well-being.
Strategies for supporting mental health and well-being need to be implemented early in the first responder career and reinforced throughout and into retirement. They should utilize holistic approaches which encourage “reaching in” rather than placing an onus on first responders to “reach out” when they are in crisis.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) are studying how samples might be brought back to Earth from Mars safely. Backward planetary protection is key in this complex endeavour, as it is required to prevent potential adverse effects from returning materials to Earth's biosphere. As the question of whether or not life exists on Mars today or whether it ever did in the past is still unanswered, the effort to return samples from Mars is expected to be categorized as a ‘Restricted Earth Return’ mission, for which NASA policy requires the containment of any unsterilized material returned to Earth. NASA is investigating several solutions to contain Mars samples and sterilize any uncontained Martian particles. This effort has significant implications for both NASA's scientific mission, and the Earth's environment; and so special care and vigilance are needed in planning and execution in order to assure acceptance of safety to Earth's biosphere. To generate a technically acceptable sterilization process across a wide array of scientific and other stakeholders, on 30–31 January 2019, 10–11 June 2019 and 19–20 February 2020, NASA informally convened a Sterilization Working Group (SWG) composed of experts from industry, academia and government to assess methods for sterilization and inactivation, to identify future work needed to verify these methods against biological challenges, and to determine their feasibility for implementation on robotic spacecraft in deep space. The goals of the SWG were:
(1) Understand what it means to sterilize and/or inactivate Martian materials and how that understanding can be applied to the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission.
(2) Assess methods for sterilization and inactivation, and identify future work needed to verify these methods.
(3) Provide an effective plan for communicating with other agencies and the public.
This paper provides a summary of the discussions and conclusions of the SWG over these three workshops. It reflects a consensus position based on qualitative discussion of how agencies might approach the problem of sterilization of Mars material. The SWG reached a consensus that sterilization options can be considered on the basis of biology as we know it, and that sterilization modalities that are effective on terrestrial materials and organisms should be part of the MSR planetary protection strategy. Conclusions pointed to several industry standards for sterilization to include heat, chemical, UV radiation and low-heat plasma. Technical trade-offs for each sterilization modality were discussed while simultaneously considering the engineering challenges and limitations for spaceflight. Future work includes more in-depth discussions on technical trade-offs of sterilization modalities, identifying and testing Earth analogue challenge organisms and proteinaceous molecules against chosen modalities, and executing collaborative agreements between NASA and external working group partners to help close data gaps, and to establish strong, scientifically grounded sterilization and inactivation standards for MSR.
To describe epidemiologic and genomic characteristics of a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak in a large skilled-nursing facility (SNF), and the strategies that controlled transmission.
Design, setting, and participants:
This cohort study was conducted during March 22–May 4, 2020, among all staff and residents at a 780-bed SNF in San Francisco, California.
Contact tracing and symptom screening guided targeted testing of staff and residents; respiratory specimens were also collected through serial point prevalence surveys (PPSs) in units with confirmed cases. Cases were confirmed by real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction testing for SARS-CoV-2, and whole-genome sequencing (WGS) was used to characterize viral isolate lineages and relatedness. Infection prevention and control (IPC) interventions included restricting from work any staff who had close contact with a confirmed case; restricting movement between units; implementing surgical face masking facility-wide; and the use of recommended PPE (ie, isolation gown, gloves, N95 respirator and eye protection) for clinical interactions in units with confirmed cases.
Of 725 staff and residents tested through targeted testing and serial PPSs, 21 (3%) were SARS-CoV-2 positive: 16 (76%) staff and 5 (24%) residents. Fifteen cases (71%) were linked to a single unit. Targeted testing identified 17 cases (81%), and PPSs identified 4 cases (19%). Most cases (71%) were identified before IPC interventions could be implemented. WGS was performed on SARS-CoV-2 isolates from 4 staff and 4 residents: 5 were of Santa Clara County lineage and the 3 others were distinct lineages.
Early implementation of targeted testing, serial PPSs, and multimodal IPC interventions limited SARS-CoV-2 transmission within the SNF.
This process evaluation aimed to understand factors affecting the implementation of a government-sponsored short message service (SMS) programme for delivering nutrition information to rural populations, including message access, acceptability and putting messages into action.
The study was nested within a larger randomised controlled trial. Cross-sectional data collection included structured surveys and in-depth interviews. Data were analysed for key trends and themes using Stata and ATLAS.ti software.
The study took place in Tanzania’s Mtwara region.
Surveys were conducted with 205 women and 93 men already enrolled in the randomised controlled trial. A sub-set of 30 women and 14 men participated in the in-depth interviews.
Among women relying on a spouse’s phone, sharing arrangements impeded regular SMS access; men were commonly away from home, forgot to share SMS or did not share them in women’s preferred way. Phone-owning women faced challenges related to charging their phones and defective handsets. Once SMS were delivered, most participants viewed them as trustworthy and comprehensible. However, economic conditions limited the feasibility of applying certain recommendations, such as feeding meat to toddlers. A sub-set of participants concurrently enrolled in an interpersonal counselling (IPC) intervention indicated that the SMS provided reminders of lessons learned during the IPC; yet, the SMS did not help participants contextualise information and overcome the challenges of putting that information into practice.
The challenges to accessing and implementing SMS services highlighted here suggest that such platforms may work well as one component of a comprehensive nutrition intervention, yet not as an isolated effort.
Social cognitive deficits can have many negative consequences, spanning social withdrawal to psychopathology. Prior work has shown that child maltreatment may associate with poorer social cognitive skills in later life. However, no studies have examined this association from early childhood into adolescence. Using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; n = 4,438), we examined the association between maltreatment (caregiver physical or emotional abuse; sexual or physical abuse), assessed repeatedly (every 1–3 years) from birth to age 9, and social cognitive skills at ages 7.5, 10.5, and 14 years. We evaluated the role of both the developmental timing (defined by age at exposure) and accumulation of maltreatment (defined as the number of occasions exposed) using a least angle regression variable selection procedure, followed by structural equation modeling. Among females, accumulation of maltreatment explained the most variation in social cognitive skills. For males, no significant associations were found. These findings underscore the importance of early intervention to minimize the accumulation of maltreatment and showcase the importance of prospective studies to understand the development of social cognition over time.
Tracing the flow of solid matter during an explosion requires a rugged tag that can be measured by a unique identifiable signature. Silica-covered semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) provide a unique and tunable photoluminescent signature that emits from within a sacrificial outer layer. Five types of silica-covered zinc sulfide QDs were synthesized and covalently bound to commercial luminescent powders. The combination of five dots and five powders enables a matrix of 25 unique tags. The tracers are shown to be tolerant of environments associated with chemical explosives and provides a unique tag to evaluate debris fields.
Background: Chlorhexidine bathing reduces bacterial skin colonization and prevents infections in specific patient populations. As chlorhexidine use becomes more widespread, concerns about bacterial tolerance to chlorhexidine have increased; however, testing for chlorhexidine minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) is challenging. We adapted a broth microdilution (BMD) method to determine whether chlorhexidine MICs changed over time among 4 important healthcare-associated pathogens. Methods: Antibiotic-resistant bacterial isolates (Staphylococcus aureus from 2005 to 2019 and Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Enterobacter cloacae complex from 2011 to 2019) were collected through Emerging Infections Program surveillance in 2 sites (Georgia and Tennessee) or through public health reporting in 1 site (Orange County, California). A convenience sample of isolates were collected from facilities with varying amounts of chlorhexidine use. We performed BMD testing using laboratory-developed panels with chlorhexidine digluconate concentrations ranging from 0.125 to 64 μg/mL. After successfully establishing reproducibility with quality control organisms, 3 laboratories performed MIC testing. For each organism, epidemiological cutoff values (ECVs) were established using ECOFFinder. Results: Among 538 isolates tested (129 S. aureus, 158 E. coli, 142 K. pneumoniae, and 109 E. cloacae complex), S. aureus, E. coli, K. pneumoniae, and E. cloacae complex ECVs were 8, 4, 64, and 64 µg/mL, respectively (Table 1). Moreover, 14 isolates had an MIC above the ECV (12 E. coli and 2 E. cloacae complex). The MIC50 of each species is reported over time (Table 2). Conclusions: Using an adapted BMD method, we found that chlorhexidine MICs did not increase over time among a limited sample of S. aureus, E. coli, K. pneumoniae, and E. cloacae complex isolates. Although these results are reassuring, continued surveillance for elevated chlorhexidine MICs in isolates from patients with well-characterized chlorhexidine exposure is needed as chlorhexidine use increases.
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a devastating rare disease that affects individuals regardless of ethnicity, gender, and age. The first-approved disease-modifying therapy for SMA, nusinursen, was approved by Health Canada, as well as by American and European regulatory agencies following positive clinical trial outcomes. The trials were conducted in a narrow pediatric population defined by age, severity, and genotype. Broad approval of therapy necessitates close follow-up of potential rare adverse events and effectiveness in the larger real-world population.
The Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR) undertook an iterative multi-stakeholder process to expand the existing SMA dataset to capture items relevant to patient outcomes in a post-marketing environment. The CNDR SMA expanded registry is a longitudinal, prospective, observational study of patients with SMA in Canada designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of novel therapies and provide practical information unattainable in trials.
The consensus expanded dataset includes items that address therapy effectiveness and safety and is collected in a multicenter, prospective, observational study, including SMA patients regardless of therapeutic status. The expanded dataset is aligned with global datasets to facilitate collaboration. Additionally, consensus dataset development aimed to standardize appropriate outcome measures across the network and broader Canadian community. Prospective outcome studies, data use, and analyses are independent of the funding partner.
Prospective outcome data collected will provide results on safety and effectiveness in a post-therapy approval era. These data are essential to inform improvements in care and access to therapy for all SMA patients.
Previous research has identified a lack of clarification regarding paramedic professional obligation to work. Understanding community expectations of paramedics will provide some clarity around this issue. The objective of this research was to explore the expectations of a sample of Australian community members regarding the professional obligation of paramedics to respond during pandemics.
The authors used qualitative methods to gather Australian community member perspectives immediately before the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Focus groups were used for data collection, and a thematic analysis was conducted.
The findings revealed 9 key themes: context of obligation (normal operations versus crisis situation), hierarchy of obligation (individual versus organizational obligation), risk acceptability, acceptable occupational risk (it’s part of the job), access to personal protective equipment, legal and ethical guidelines, education and training, safety, and acceptable limitations to obligation. The factors identified as being acceptable limitations to professional obligation are presented as further sub-themes: physical health, mental health, and competing personal obligations.
The issue of professional obligation must be addressed by ambulance services as a matter of urgency, especially in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Further research is recommended to understand how community member expectations evolve during and after the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
There is a wealth of literature on the observed association between childhood trauma and psychotic illness. However, the relationship between childhood trauma and psychosis is complex and could be explained, in part, by gene–environment correlation.
The association between schizophrenia polygenic scores (PGS) and experiencing childhood trauma was investigated using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). Schizophrenia PGS were derived in each cohort for children, mothers, and fathers where genetic data were available. Measures of trauma exposure were derived based on data collected throughout childhood and adolescence (0–17 years; ALSPAC) and at age 8 years (MoBa).
Within ALSPAC, we found a positive association between schizophrenia PGS and exposure to trauma across childhood and adolescence; effect sizes were consistent for both child or maternal PGS. We found evidence of an association between the schizophrenia PGS and the majority of trauma subtypes investigated, with the exception of bullying. These results were comparable with those of MoBa. Within ALSPAC, genetic liability to a range of additional psychiatric traits was also associated with a greater trauma exposure.
Results from two international birth cohorts indicate that genetic liability for a range of psychiatric traits is associated with experiencing childhood trauma. Genome-wide association study of psychiatric phenotypes may also reflect risk factors for these phenotypes. Our findings also suggest that youth at higher genetic risk might require greater resources/support to ensure they grow-up in a healthy environment.
A priority focus on palliative and supportive care is helping the 43.5 million caregivers who care for individuals with serious illness. Lacking support may lead to caregiver distress and poorer care delivery to patients with serious illness. We examined the potential of instrumental support (assistance with material and task performance) to mitigate distress among caregivers.
We analyzed data from the nationally representative Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS V2, 2018). Informal/family caregivers were identified in HINTS V2 if they indicated they were caring for or making healthcare decisions for another adult with a health problem. We used the PROMIS® instrumental support four-item short-form T-scores and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-4) for distress. We examined multivariable linear regression models for associations between distress and instrumental support, adjusted for sampling weights, socio-demographics, and caregiving variables (care recipient health condition(s), years caregiving (≥2), relationship to care recipient, and caregiver burden). We examined interactions between burden and instrumental support on caregiver distress level.
Our analyses included 311 caregivers (64.8% female, 64.9% non-Hispanic White). The unweighted mean instrumental support T-score was 50.4 (SD = 10.6, range = 29.3–63.3); weighted mean was 51.2 (SE = 1.00). Lower instrumental support (p < 0.01), younger caregiver age (p < 0.04), higher caregiving duration (p = 0.008), and caregiver unemployment (p = 0.006) were significantly associated with higher caregiver distress. Mean instrumental support scores by distress levels were 52.3 (within normal limits), 49.4 (mild), 48.9 (moderate), and 39.7 (severe). The association between instrumental support and distress did not differ by caregiver burden level.
Poor instrumental support is associated with high distress among caregivers, suggesting the need for palliative and supportive care interventions to help caregivers leverage instrumental support.
Triage at mass gatherings in Australia is commonly performed by staff members with first aid training. There have been no evaluations of the performance of first aid staff with respect to diagnostic accuracy or identification of presentations requiring ambulance transport to hospital.
It was hypothesized that triage decisions by first aid staff would be considered correct in at least 61% of presentations.
A retrospective audit of 1,048 presentations to a single supplier of event health care services in Australia was conducted. The presentations were assessed based on the first measured set of physiological parameters, and the primary triage decision was classified as “expected” if the primary and secondary triage classifications were the same or “not expected” if they differed. The performance of the two triage systems was compared using area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) analysis.
The expected decision was made by first aid staff in 674 (71%) of presentations. Under-triage occurred in 131 (14%) presentations and over-triage in 142 (15%) presentations. The primary triage strategy had an AUROC of 0.7644, while the secondary triage strategy had an AUROC of 0.6280, which was significantly different (P = .0199).
The results support the continued use of first aid trained staff members in triage roles at Australian mass gatherings. Triage tools should be simple, and the addition of physiological variables to improve the sensitivity of triage tools is not recommended because such an approach does not improve the discriminatory capacity of the tools.
Serotonin and sympathomimetic toxicity (SST) after ingestion of amphetamine-based drugs can lead to severe morbidity and death. There have been evaluations of the safety and efficacy of on-site treatment protocols for SST at music festivals.
The study aimed to examine the safety and efficacy of treating patients with SST on-site at a music festival using a protocol adapted from hospital-based treatment of SST.
The study is an audit of presentations with SST over a one-year period. The primary outcome was need for ambulance transport to hospital. The threshold for safety was prospectively defined as less than 10% of patients requiring ambulance transport to hospital.
The protocol suggested patients be treated with a combination of benzodiazepines; cold intravenous (IV) fluid; specific therapies (cyproheptadine, chlorpromazine, and clonidine); rapid sequence intubation; and cooling with ice, misted water, and convection techniques.
One patient of 13 (7.7%) patients with mild or moderate SST required ambulance transport to hospital. Two of seven further patients with severe SST required transport to hospital.
On-site treatment may be a safe, efficacious, and efficient alternative to urgent transport to hospital for patients with mild and moderate SST. The keys to success of the protocol tested included inclusive and clear education of staff at all levels of the organization, robust referral pathways to senior clinical staff, and the rapid delivery of therapies aimed at rapidly lowering body temperature. Further collaborative research is required to define the optimal approach to patients with SST at music festivals.
Emergency service (ambulance, police, fire) call-takers and dispatchers are often exposed to duty-related trauma, placing them at increased risk for developing mental health challenges like stress, anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Their unique working environment also puts them at-risk for physical health issues like obesity, headache, backache, and insomnia. Along with the stress associated with being on the receiving end of difficult calls, call-takers and dispatchers also deal with the pressure and demand of following protocol despite dealing with the variability of complex and stressful situations.
A systematic literature review was conducted using the MEDLINE, PubMed, CINAHL, and PsychInfo databases.
A total of 25 publications were retrieved by the search strategy. The majority of studies (n = 13; 52%) reported a quantitative methodology, while nine (36%) reported the use of a qualitative research methodology. One study reported a mixed-methods methodology, one reported an evaluability assessment with semi-structured interviews, one reported on a case study, and one was a systematic review with a narrative synthesis.
Challenges to physical health included: shift-work leading to lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, and obesity; outdated and ergonomically ill-fitted equipment, and physically confining and isolating work spaces leading to physical injuries; inadequate breaks leading to fatigue; and high noise levels and poor lighting being correlated with higher cortisol levels. Challenges to mental health included: being exposed to traumatic calls; working in high-pressure environments with little downtime in between stressful calls; inadequate debriefing after stressful calls; inappropriate training for mental-health-related calls; and being exposed to verbally aggressive callers. Lack of support from leadership was an additional source of stress.
Emergency service call-takers and dispatchers experience both physical and mental health challenges as a result of their work, which appears to be related to a range of both operational and support-based issues. Future research should explore the long-term effects of these physical and mental health challenges.
In the years following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York (USA), otherwise known as 9/11, first responders and recovery workers began experiencing a range of physical and mental health challenges. Publications documenting these provide an important evidence-base identifying exposure-related health challenges associated with environmental exposures from the World Trade Center (WTC) site and describe the key lessons learned regarding both physical and mental health challenges (including symptoms and defined conditions) from the 9/11 disaster response.
A systematic literature review was conducted using the MEDLINE, PubMed, CINAHL, and PsychInfo databases (September 11, 2001 to September 11, 2018) using relevant search terms, truncation symbols, and Boolean combination functions. Publications were limited to journal articles that documented the physical or mental health challenges of 9/11 on first responders or recovery workers.
A total of 156 publications were retrieved by the search strategy. The majority (55%) reported a quantitative methodology, while only seven percent reported the use of a qualitative research methodology. Firefighters were the group of responders most frequently reported in the literature (35%), while 37% of publications reported on research that included a mix of first responders and recovery workers. Physical health was the focus of the majority of publications (57%). Among the challenges, respiratory issues were the physical health condition most frequently reported in publications, while posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was the most frequent mental health condition reported on. Publications were published in a broad range of multi-disciplinary journals (n = 75).
These findings will go some way to filling the current gap in the 9/11 evidence-base regarding the understanding of the long-term health challenges for first responders and recovery workers.
Field studies were conducted in 2016 and 2017 in Clinton, NC, to determine the interspecific and intraspecific interference of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S. Watson) or large crabgrass [Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop.] in ‘Covington’ sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.]. Amaranthus palmeri and D. sanguinalis were established 1 d after sweetpotato transplanting and maintained season-long at 0, 1, 2, 4, 8 and 0, 1, 2, 4, 16 plants m−1 of row in the presence and absence of sweetpotato, respectively. Predicted yield loss for sweetpotato was 35% to 76% for D. sanguinalis at 1 to 16 plants m−1 of row and 50% to 79% for A. palmeri at 1 to 8 plants m−1 of row. Weed dry biomass per meter of row increased linearly with increasing weed density. Individual dry biomass of A. palmeri and D. sanguinalis was not affected by weed density when grown in the presence of sweetpotato. When grown without sweetpotato, individual weed dry biomass decreased 71% and 62% from 1 to 4 plants m−1 row for A. palmeri and D. sanguinalis, respectively. Individual weed dry biomass was not affected above 4 plants m−1 row to the highest densities of 8 and 16 plants m−1 row for A. palmeri and D. sanguinalis, respectively.
The objective of this study was to explore preferred self-care practices among paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) who responded to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack (9/11) in New York City (New York USA).
Design, Setting, and Participants:
Qualitative research methodology with convenience and subsequent snowball sampling was utilized. Participants were adult (at least 18 years of age) paramedics or EMTs who self-reported as responding to the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City.
Main Outcome Measures:
Preferred self-care practices; participant characteristics; indications and patterns of self-care use; perceived benefits and harms; and views on appropriate availability of support and self-care services were the main outcome measures.
The 9/11 paramedic and EMT participants reported a delay in recognizing the need for self-care. Preferred physical self-care practices included exercise, good nutrition, getting enough sleep, and sticking to routine. Preferred psychosocial self-care practices included spending time with family and friends, participating in peer-support programs and online support forums, and routinely seeing a mental health professional. Self-care was important for younger paramedics and EMTs who reported having less-developed supportive infrastructure around them, as well as for retiring paramedics and EMTs who often felt left behind by a system they had dedicated their lives to. Access to cooking classes and subsidized gym memberships were viewed as favorable, as was the ability to include family members in self-care practices.
A range of physical and psychosocial self-care practices should be encouraged among paramedic students and implemented by Australian ambulance services to ensure the health and well-being of paramedics throughout their career and into retirement.
Natural disasters often damage or destroy the protective public health service infrastructure (PHI) required to maintain the health and well-being of people with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). This interruption increases the risk of an acute exacerbation or complication, potentially leading to a worse long-term prognosis or even death. Disaster-related exacerbations of NCDs will continue, if not increase, due to an increasing prevalence and sustained rise in the frequency and intensity of disasters, along with rapid unsustainable urbanization in flood plains and storm-prone coastal zones. Despite this, the focus of disaster and health systems preparedness and response remains on communicable diseases, even when the actual risk of disease outbreaks post-disaster is low, particularly in developed countries. There is now an urgent need to expand preparedness and response beyond communicable diseases to include people with NCDs.
The developing evidence-base describing the risk of disaster-related exacerbation of NCDs does not incorporate the perspectives, concerns, and challenges of people actually living with the conditions. To help address this gap, this research explored the key influences on patient ability to successfully manage their NCD after a natural disaster.
A survey of people with NCDs in Queensland, Australia collected data on demographics, disease, disaster experience, and primary concern post-disaster. Descriptive statistics and chi-square tests with a Bonferroni-adjustment were used to analyze data.
There were 118 responses to the survey. Key influences on the ability to self-manage post-disaster were access to medication, medical services, water, treatment and care, power, and food. Managing disease-specific symptoms associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental health, and respiratory diseases were primary concerns following a disaster. Stress and anxiety, loss of sleep, weakness or fatigue, and shortness of breath were common concerns for all patients with NCDs. Those dependent on care from others were most worried about shortness of breath and slow healing sores. Accessing medication and medical services were priorities for all patients post-disaster.
The key influences on successful self-management post-disaster for people with NCDs must be reflected in disaster plans and strategies. Achieving this will reduce exacerbations or complications of disease and decrease demand for emergency health care post-disaster.