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Dispatchers should be trained to interrogate bystanders with strict protocols to elicit information focused on recognizing cardiac arrest and should provide telephone cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) instructions in all cases of suspected cardiac arrest. While an objective assessment of training outcomes is needed, there is no performance assessment scale for simulated dispatcher-assisted CPR.
The aim of the study was to create a valid and reliable performance assessment scale for simulated dispatcher-assisted CPR.
In this prospective, randomized, controlled, multi-centric simulation-based trial (registration number TCTR20210130002), the scale was developed according to the European Resuscitation Council (ERC) and American Heart Association (AHA) Guidelines 2015 and revised by experts. The performance of 48 dispatchers’ telephone-CPR and of 48 bystanders carrying out CPR on a manikin was assessed by two independent evaluators using the scale and using a SkillReporter (PC) software to provide CPR objective performance. Continuous variables were described as mean (SD) and categorical variables as numbers and percentage (%). Comparative analysis between two groups used a Student t-test or a non-parametric test of Mann-Whitney. The internal structure of the scale was evaluated, including internal consistency using α Cronbach coefficient, and reproducibility using intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and linear correlation coefficient (R2) calculation.
The scale included three different parts: two sections for dispatchers’ (32 items) and bystanders’ CPR performance (15 items) assessment, and a third part recording times. There was excellent internal consistency (α Cronbach coefficient = 0.77) and reproducibility (ICC = 0.93; R² = 0.86). For dispatchers’ performance assessment, α Cronbach coefficient = 0.76; ICC = 0.91; R2 = 0.84. For bystanders’ performance assessment, α Cronbach coefficient = 0.75; ICC = 0.93; R2 = 0.87. Reproducibility was excellent for nine items, good for 19 items, and moderate for 19 items. No item had poor reproducibility. There was no significant difference between dispatch doctors’ and medical dispatch assistants’ performances (33.0 [SD = 4.7] versus 32.3 [SD = 3.2] out of 52, respectively; P = .70) or between trained and untrained bystanders to follow the instructions (14.3 [SD = 2.0] versus 13.9 [SD = 1.8], respectively; P = .64). Objective performance (%) was significantly higher for trained bystanders than for untrained bystanders (67.4 [SD = 14.5] versus 50.6 [SD = 19.3], respectively; P = .03).
The scale was valid and reliable to assess performance for simulated dispatcher-assisted CPR. To the authors’ knowledge, no other valid performance tool currently exists. It could be used in simulated telephone-CPR training programs to improve performance.
Prehospital stroke care is the first link in the stroke chain of survival and includes symptom recognition, engagement of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system, timely and effective dispatcher response, and emergency medical response. Prehospital stroke screening tools are an important component in guiding the EMS response to stroke and proper triage of patients. Additionally, there is a growing body of research focused on applications for telemedicine, mobile stroke units, and diagnostic testing in the prehospital arena. Prehospital stroke care is integral to the organization of regionalized stroke systems. Implementation of stroke systems of care can lead to improved access to specialty services and improved patient health outcomes. In addition to increasing access to acute stroke care, telestroke shows great potential for integrating stroke systems of care and facilitating interactions between centres.
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.
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