Author Topic: Ontario paramedics using peer support to address mental health concerns  (Read 1201 times)

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Offline the 48th regulator

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Offline mariomike

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"A few years ago, physical injuries were the highest prevalence in paramedic services, but that has shifted," he says.

Ontario passed PTSD presumptive legislation for emergency services less than one year ago.

At our pensioner luncheons they tell us that since then, PTSD claims have "taken off like wildfire".

There seems to be a concern at HQ that if an honourable path exists for paramedics to escape 9-1-1 operations that many will take it.

I have read here about marijuana and dogs ( $30,000 ? ) to treat PTSD.
I would not know about either of those. But, in my opinion, nothing beats a permanent ( human ) partner.
S/he is who you rely on. Nobody else. Only s/he knows your strengths and weaknesses.

Maybe they don't have permanent partners in East Gwillimbury? I was assigned to one the day I hired on with my department.
You may work with the same partner for a quarter century.
Remember Johnny Gage and Roy Desoto? That's how it is. 
Doing good work with your partner is the most fun you will ever have in your life.

We have had a Peer Resource Team ( PRT ) for many years. It is good for "Swing" Paramedics. ie: New Paramedics who do not yet have a permanent partner.

See also,

An Investigation into how the Toronto Paramedic Services Address Staff Operational Stress Injuries

Knowing What You're Getting Into – Pre-Employment Screening

The idea that paramedics should receive some form of pre-employment psychological screening prior to being hired was raised by a number of individuals throughout this investigation in all parts of the TPS. ( Toronto Paramedic Services ).

Some of the clinicians that we spoke with supported selection criteria based on psychological grounds, such as excluding applicants that demonstrate lower resiliency traits or who were otherwise unstable from an emotional/psychological level to engage in the type of work done by paramedics.

Some individuals that we spoke with said the Ontario colleges of applied arts and technology that offer a paramedic program need to have selection criteria for students that would, hopefully, ensure students that are admitted into the program are aware of the risks associated with a career as a paramedic. This was also raised as a concern by participants in the Ministry of Labour's Roundtable on Traumatic Mental Stress.

One of the suggestions is to "Market jobs realistically in schools and in general, to ensure recruits and young people are aware of the risks that they may face in certain occupations."

A retired chief from TPS ( Toronto Paramedic Services ) told us during his interview that, in his opinion, the onus is squarely on the colleges, "so that not only are people going to be successful in the community college program, but within their first year of employment they're not going to fall into difficulties because of this whole issue of PTSD." He noted that, in his experience, there are "too many horror stories" of paramedics that have successfully completed the college program and after their first or second traumatic call, "that's when they find out they're not cut out for it."

TPS ( Toronto Paramedic Services ) currently does not use any form of pre-employment psychological screening. Documents that we obtained from the service indicate that it has considered implementing some form of pre-employment screening that involves screening for psychological issues and selecting applicants that are viewed as "optimal" for employment in the field, focusing on ideal characteristics, personality, motivations, etc.

To become a paramedic in Ontario, this will include attending a Paramedic Program at an Ontario college of applied arts and technology for two years and, after successful completion, undergoing a provincial certification examination known as the Advanced Emergency Medical Care Assistant (A-EMCA).

My office's review of documents indicated multiple references about TPS ( Toronto Paramedic Services ) implementing some form of psychological screening. This issue came up repeatedly during interviews. In one document it noted, "the sooner we get [pre-employment screening] implemented, the better."

The Education and Development Unit is responsible for the hiring of paramedics. Commanders indicated to my investigator that it would be helpful to have a connection with the staff psychologist to assist in the development of some screening tools as part of the hiring process.

The Chief has also indicated that he would like to see pre-employment screening as part of the hiring process but acknowledged that it would need to be quarter-backed by an "expert" to deal with issues such as human rights and the proper implementation of the screening process.

TPS ( Toronto Paramedic Services ) should start the process of consulting with internal and external stakeholders, as well as other first responder organizations with experience on this issue, to consider pre-employment screening.

That TPS ( Toronto Paramedic Services ) consider, in consultation with stakeholders, implementing pre-employment screening as part of the recruitment of paramedics.

Psychological screening of prospective members, as well as a panel interview.



« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 19:40:23 by mariomike »