Challenges and changes with COVID-19: Canadian paramedics' experiences

Background: Healthcare systems, practitioners and communities have experienced momentous change and strain because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although paramedics are an essential component of the public health emergency response, the literature has focused primarily on the views of physicians, nurses and hospital administrators. Aims: This research sought to improve the understanding of the lived experiences of paramedics throughout the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak. Methods: The perspectives of paramedics were captured through an online survey consisting predominantly of open-ended questions. Findings: Three main themes describing the experiences of paramedics arose: challenges with change management; changes in day-to-day operations; and implications for mental health. Conclusion: This study has offered insights for future pandemic response in terms of information dissemination, practitioner involvement in policy and operational changes, and mental health and wellbeing support needs during and beyond a pandemic.

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