Reaching underserved people during the pandemic

Background: As the COVID-19 crisis evolved, many emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and community paramedics (CPs) were already positioned to engage with both the community and the health system. Aim: This project, based in Indiana, USA, aimed to provide resources for EMTs and CPs to build knowledge and skills necessary to use promising practices related to COVID-19 and provide culturally competent care using telehealth to improve access to care for underserved populations during the pandemic. Methods: Between May 2020 and April 2021, EMT and CP participants completed a retrospective pre-test and post-test assessing self-efficacy around best practices related to COVID-19 and culturally competent care using telehealth. Findings: Forty-nine EMTs and CPs completed the project and results demonstrate a significant (P<0.05) improvement in self-reported level of preparedness to demonstrate best practices related to COVID-19 culturally competent care using telehealth. Conclusion: The project identified a potentially effective strategy for increasing practitioner self-efficacy, resulting in a more effective system for caring for vulnerable individuals during a pandemic.

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