Communication and empathy in an emergency setting involving persons in crisis

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The article presents a study of the interaction between paramedics and parents in cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). We have sought to understand how the parents perceived the paramedics ability to communicate as well as empathise and deal with practical aspects of the situation. We have also sought to understand how the paramedics view their role as professional health workers, and how they think they should interact with persons in crisis. The method used in this study is qualitative and involves semi-structured interview schemes. We conducted twelve interviews - six with parents and six with paramedics. One of our primary findings is that many of the parents interviewed were not satisfied with the paramedics' communication, empathy and ability to take care of the practical aspects of the situation. The interviews have also revealed that there is significant disagreement among paramedics about the interpersonal role of health workers in situations involving people in crisis. The final part of this article includes a discussion of these and other findings. We argue that guidelines that specify threshold conditions for communication and care should be implemented in education and training. The aim of such guidelines should be to make sure that parents of lifeless children are secured a minimum of relevant explanations, information and care. © 2008 Nordby and Nøhr; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Nordby, H., & Nøhr, Ø. (2008). Communication and empathy in an emergency setting involving persons in crisis. Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine, 16(1).

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