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Safety Checklists for Emergency Response Driving and Patient Transport: Experiences from Emergency Medical Services

      Abstract

      Background

      Emergency response driving (ERD) is considered one of the most significant occupational risk factors affecting both patient and traffic safety in emergency medical services (EMS). The majority of the risk factors in ERD are crew related and could be affected positively with crew resource management (CRM). The aim of this study was to examine how the safety checklists developed for ERD and patient transport are experienced in practical work in EMS by paramedics.

      Methods

      Safety checklists for ERD and patient transport were developed and then piloted in practical work among 30 paramedics in five different EMS areas around Finland for a two-month period in fall 2019. Afterward, semistructured thematic interviews were performed with the pilot participants, and the material was analyzed using inductive content analysis.

      Results

      Paramedics experienced that use of ERD and patient transport safety checklists improved safety, and deployment of the checklists required systematic planning. Use of the safety checklists was seen as changing the mindset of the ERD drivers to a more safety critical stance and increasing a systematic approach to ERD. Paramedics also stated that when deploying the checklists in EMS, their use should be standardized as a nationwide operating model and that service-dependent fine-tuning is required.

      Conclusion

      This study's findings support the use of ERD and patient transport safety checklists in practical work in EMS for promoting safety. In addition to safety checklists, other sections of CRM and its applications to EMS should also be studied.
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