Paramedics’ perceptions of their role in end of life care

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Murphy, Síomha
Van der Velde, J.
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Irish Medical Organisation
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Aims: Critical decisions made in the field by paramedics influence where patients die if their end of life (EOL) wishes are upheld and how appropriately health-care resources are used. The aim was to gauge perceptions as to the current and future role of paramedics in EOL care. Methods: A qualitative approach collated data from two focus group interviews (group 1 n=7, group 2 n=8). Focus groups were audio recorded, transcribed, and analysed using Attride–Stirling’s framework for thematic network analysis. Results: The global theme ‘Paramedics’ Perceptions of Their Role in End of Life Care’ emerged from five organising themes: 1. education and training; 2. current clinical practice guidelines; 3. communication; 4. environment and 5. staff support. Poor communication between those involved in patient care, lack of support from current clinical practice guidelines, limited training in managing EOL scenarios and inadequate staff supports were highlighted by participants. The clinical environment also effected how challenging practitioners found the call. Conclusion: The pathway to improving EOL care must include an emphasis on improvements in practitioner education and training, enhanced communication between all those involved in a patient’s care and offering non didactic practice guidelines that are practitioner driven and patient-focused. It must also include increased psychological supports for paramedics dealing with EOL patients.
Paramedics , End of life , Psychological supports
Murphy, S. and Van der Velde, J. (2022) 'Paramedics’ perceptions of their role in end of life care', Irish Medical Journal, 115(4), P578 (10pp). Available at: (Accessed: 20 May 2022)
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