Paramedics’ Confidences and Concerns About Infectious Disease Pandemics
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Pandemics occur when a new or unfamiliar type or strain of infection is introduced, causing widespread illness globally. The unpredictable nature and impact of pandemics requires healthcare systems to prepare for the likely surge in sick patients, increased staff exposure to the infection, and possible absenteeism in pre-hospital and hospital care. However, research on pandemic preparedness in pre-hospital care is sparse, and there is particularly limited research on paramedic preparedness for pandemics. This comparative study engaged 13 paramedics from British Columbia, Canada about their confidences and concerns about working during a future pandemic, exploring both urban and rural community contexts. Participant views informed eight key recommendations for paramedic pandemic preparedness: pandemic planning documentation, collaborative planning, clear and trustworthy communication, compliance with infection prevention and control principles, education and training, adequate and effective equipment, a focus on staff and family well-being, and further research in pandemic preparedness.