An insight into the demands and stressors experienced by Community First Responders

Peter Kindness
July 2014

Background:Community First Responders (CFR) are volunteers who respond to appropriate medical emergencies while an ambulance is en route. The emergencies that CFRs attend are situations where stress is inherent, yet little is known of which stressors and demands are present and which are considered to be the greatest attributer to stress experienced.Objective:This survey aims to gain further understanding of the demands and stressors experienced by CFRs.Design:An online survey using a modified NASA-TLX scoring system was distributed to CFRs throughout Scotland (n=535). CFRs were asked to gauge the demands and stressors experienced during a ‘typical’ and their ‘most stressful’ callout, what would be the biggest cause of stress if present and the most stressful time-period during callouts.Results:88 CFRs started the survey with 40 continuing to completion. Frustration that the CFR could not help the patient more was considered to be the biggest stressor for both a typical and most the stressful callout. Emotional demand was the most present demand in a typical callout and mental demand in the most stressful callout. If present, loneliness and isolation was deemed to be the biggest cause of stress for CFRs. Prior to arrival at scene was the most stressful time.Conclusions:This insight provides a valuable appraisal for the Scottish Ambulance Service of the CFR scheme and the concerns and demands experienced by its volunteers. The results also act as a cross-sectional study for research investigating stress alleviation through human-computer interaction in the pre-hospital care domain.

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