Spring 2022 - 11

* Compromised immune system
* Common cold
During sleep, the body also rejuvenates the
individual and helps them to recover from the
wear and tear associated with their job and
other aspects of day-to-day living.
Similar to the predicament of other sleepdeprived
shift workers, the risk to EMS health
and safety increases on the roadways and
manifests in the form of driver impairment
and motor vehicle crashes. According to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA), drowsy drivers are involved in
100,000 collisions each year, which results in
more than 1,500 deaths and 40,000 injuries.
According to the NHTSA, 50 percent of EMS
workers suffer from fatigue.
Often, EMS personnel must provide
medication, lift patients, administer treatment
or use certain medical equipment and devices,
within a matter of minutes or seconds after
coming into contact with a patient and
making an assessment of the person and their
condition. Studies show that poor sleep quality
and consistent fatigue have a debilitating
effect on the central nervous system, which
can lead to:
* Impaired communication
* Reduced motivation
* Drowsiness
* Fatigue
* Decreased alertness
* Memory lapse
* Slowed reaction time
* Impaired thinking and judgment
* Depression
That last item, depression, is particularly
troubling because its signs and symptoms can
be so subtle. With 36 percent of paramedics
afflicted, according to one 2012 study entitled
" Are you under stress in EMS: Understanding
the slippery slope of burnout and PTSD " , and
sleep deprivation a major cause of burnout, it's
not all that surprising.
" The correlation between fatigue and
wakefulness isn't just about the number of
hours you're asleep; it's the quality of that
sleep as well, " said New Jersey EMT and
author of the EMS Siren blog Amy Eisenhauer.
" Whether you're constantly interrupted, or
you don't sleep at all, you're at greater risk for
mental and physical health issues. "
The National Association of State EMS
Officials has publicized research showing that
" more than half of emergency medical services
personnel report severe mental and physical
fatigue at work, poor sleep quality, and
inadequate recovery between shifts. "
Recovery actually takes longer after partial
sleep deprivation - the kind many healthcare
professionals are accustomed to - than after
total sleep deprivation. Even three consecutive
days of eight-hour sleep periods may not be
enough to restore performance after a single
week of wakefulness.
Eisenhauer cautioned EMS providers that
superficial measures like blackout curtains
aren't going to solve this problem. Employers
should have policies mandating:
* Regular patterns of work shifts and
sleep periods.
* Strategic napping.
* Sleeping as much as possible between
2 and 5 a.m.
* High-efficiency sleep - i.e., solid blocks
with few awakenings.
* At least seven hours of sleep per day.
" Fatigue management is a joint, ongoing
responsibility, " she said. " Everyone involved has
to be willing to change their ways. " n
tacticaltrainingandconditioning.com | 11
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Spring 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Spring 2022

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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/TAC/fall-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/TAC/summer-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/TAC/spring-2022
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