Attitudes to living and working in pandemic conditions among emergency prehospital medical care personnel

Watt, Kerrianne, Tippett, Vivienne, Raven, Steven, Jamrozik, Konrad, Coory, Michael, Archer, Frank, & Kelly, Heath (2010) Attitudes to living and working in pandemic conditions among emergency prehospital medical care personnel. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 25(1), pp. 13-19.

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Introduction: Little is known about the risk perceptions and attitudes of healthcare personnel, especially of emergency prehospital medical care personnel, regarding the possibility of an outbreak or epidemic event. Problem: This study was designed to investigate pre-event knowledge and attitudes of a national sample of the emergency prehospital medical care providers in relation to a potential human influenza pandemic, and to determine predictors of these attitudes. Methods: Surveys were distributed to a random, cross-sectional sample of 20% of the Australian emergency prehospital medical care workforce (n = 2,929), stratified by the nine services operating in Australia, as well as by gender and location. The surveys included: (1) demographic information; (2) knowledge of influenza; and (3) attitudes and perceptions related to working during influenza pandemic conditions. Multiple logistic regression models were constructed to identify predictors of pandemic-related risk perceptions. Results: Among the 725 Australian emergency prehospital medical care personnel who responded, 89% were very anxious about working during pandemic conditions, and 85% perceived a high personal risk associated with working in such conditions. In general, respondents demonstrated poor knowledge in relation to avian influenza, influenza generally, and infection transmission methods. Less than 5% of respondents perceived that they had adequate education/training about avian influenza. Logistic regression analyses indicate that, in managing the attitudes and risk perceptions of emergency prehospital medical care staff, particular attention should be directed toward the paid, male workforce (as opposed to volunteers), and on personnel whose relationship partners do not work in the health industry. Conclusions: These results highlight the potentially crucial role of education and training in pandemic preparedness. Organizations that provide emergency prehospital medical care must address this apparent lack of knowledge regarding infection transmission, and procedures for protection and decontamination. Careful management of the perceptions of emergency prehospital medical care personnel during a pandemic is likely to be critical in achieving an effective response to a widespread outbreak of infectious disease.

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ID Code: 41222
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: attitudes, emergency medical services, infection control, influenza, pandemic
ISSN: 1049-023X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Cambridge University Press
Deposited On: 11 Apr 2011 21:23
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 00:49

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