Attitudes and perceptions of paramedics about end-of-life care: a literature review

Background: Paramedics must be prepared to respond to crises in which a threat to a patient's health may result in death. They are therefore highly involved with end-of-life care. Aims: Involvement with end-of-life care is the context in which this paper examines how paramedics perceive and respond to this part of their role. Methods: This is a systematic literature review that examines current evidence. Findings: Five themes emerged, which suggest that paramedics are not prepared to work with crisis situations involving the end of patients' lives: emotional resilience; decision making; communicating death; recognising dying patients; and death education. Conclusion: The current review concludes that the dearth of data is not preventing improvements in services, nor education and training, in this field.

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