In response to its paramedics’ emotional trauma, the YRPS launched a Peer Support Team. Comprised of 20 York Region paramedics trained in psychological first aid, these paramedics provide traumatized EMS practitioners with someone they can reach out to for help.
Acute stress disorder (ASD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are psychological reactions that develop in some people following the experience of traumatic events such as major disaster, war, sexual or physical assault, motor vehicle accidents, and torture. Exposure to a traumatic event is not an uncommon experience. Large community surveys in Australia and overseas reveal that 50–65 per cent of people report at least one traumatic event in their lives. The volume of research studies on the treatment of ASD and PTSD published over the past decade, and the emerging consensus from those studies, warrants the development of clinical practice guidelines. The guidelines were developed in accord with National Health and Medical Research Council guideline development requirements, by a working party comprising key trauma experts from throughout Australia, in consultation with a multidisciplinary panel comprising representatives of the range of health professionals involved in the care of people with ASD and PTSD, and service users.
Emergency workers perform a vital role in our society. They protect the rule of law, ensure our safety and provide assistance in emergencies. Surveys consistently show that emergency workers are one of the most valued and trusted occupational groups. However, there is increasing realisation that emergency work can come at a cost. Large numbers of emergency workers report ongoing psychological consequences from exposure to trauma, most notably post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This guideline helps emergency workers and their clinicians as they work together towards recovery.