Paramedic perceptions and attitudes to working with patients with alcohol-related injury or illness


AimsTo ascertain views, perceptions and attitudes of paramedics when working with patients presenting with alcohol-related injury or illness, and to explore perceived barriers and facilitators for the introduction of alcohol interventions to the NHS ambulance services.MethodsA total of 142 (24%) from 589 paramedics from the North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust returned completed surveys between January 2013 to April 2013, which included measures of current perceptions and attitudes of working with patients with alcohol-related injury or illness, and the Shortened Alcohol and Alcohol Problems Perception Questionnaire (SAAPPQ).ResultsParamedics reported little to no formal training on working with patients with alcohol-related injury or illness (77%). Paramedics scored low across all domains of the SAAPPQ for working with both problem and dependent drinkers. Not having suitable counseling materials (77%), not enough training (72%) and no facilities or time to deal with prevention (69%) were key barriers.ConclusionsAt this present time, levels of commitment, motivation, satisfaction, legitimacy and adequacy are low in front-line paramedics when working with patients with alcohol-related injury and illness. However, they are open to finding ways to provide interventions if they are adequately trained and have appropriate referral pathways open to them.

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