The Association of Death Notification and Related Training with Burnout among Emergency Medical Services Professionals

Abraham Campos, Eric V. Ernest, Rebecca E. Cash, Madison K. Rivard, Ashish R. Panchal, Brian M. Clemency, Robert A. Swor, Remle P. Crowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Death notification is a difficult task commonly encountered during prehospital care and may lead to burnout among EMS professionals. Lack of training could potentiate the relationship between death notification and burnout. The first objective of this study was to describe EMS professionals’ experience with death notification and related training. The secondary objective was to assess the associations between death notification delivery, training, and burnout. Methods: We administered an electronic questionnaire to a random sample of nationally-certified EMS professionals. Work-related burnout was measured using the validated Copenhagen Burnout Inventory. Analysis was stratified by certification level to basic life support (BLS) and advanced life support (ALS). The association between the number of adult (≥18 years) patient death notifications delivered in the prior 12 months and burnout was assessed using multivariable logistic regression to adjust for confounding variables. Multivariable logistic regression modeling was used to assess the adjusted association between training and burnout among those who reported delivering at least one death notification in the prior 12 months. Adjusted odds ratios (aOR) and 95% confidence intervals are reported (95% CI). Results: We received 2,333/19,330 (12%) responses and 1,514 were included in the analysis. Most ALS respondents (77%) and one-third of BLS respondents (33%) reported at least one adult death notification in the past year. Approximately half of respondents reported receiving death notification training as part of their initial EMS education program (51% BLS; 52% ALS) and fewer reported receiving continuing education (30% BLS; 44% ALS). Delivering a greater number of death notifications was associated with increased odds of burnout. Among those who delivered at least one death notification, continuing education was associated with reduced odds of burnout. Conclusion: Many EMS professionals reported delivering at least one death notification within the past year. Yet, fewer than half reported training related to death notification during initial EMS education and even fewer reported receiving continuing education. More of those who delivered death notifications experienced burnout, while continuing education was associated with reduced odds of burnout. Future work is needed to develop and evaluate death notification training specifically for EMS professionals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • bad news
  • death notification
  • education
  • emergency medical services
  • occupational burnout
  • termination of resuscitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency

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