Ways to Combat Fatigue With EMS Software

How Are You Monitoring Levels of Fatigue with your shift scheduling program?

On January 23, 2018, a paramedic and patient from Indiana died after an ambulance hit a car while transporting a patient. Local police said the driver of the ambulance allegedly fell asleep before the collision. You may be thinking that this was just a chance happening, but these accidents occur more often than you think. They can be prevented by having the proper shift scheduling program in place.

Fatigue is a very complex matter and can manifest in many ways depending on the person. Common symptoms of fatigue consist of mental and physical ailments that can affect performance and attention to detail.

As we dive into the root causes of fatigue in the EMS industry we’ll discuss the effects of fatigue, how to properly identify symptoms, and minor adjustments to alleviate burnout.

Fatigue

At some point in time, we’ve all experienced pure exhaustion but having to make life-altering decisions while under these conditions is not the norm. Fatigue refers to the disruption of physical and mental abilities due to labor, exertion, or stress. As a paramedic, shifts can last upwards of 32 hours depending on the amount of paperwork to be completed after an actual shift.

Long and uncertain shift patterns have become routine for those in the EMS industry, but has it led to preventable accident and mistakes in the field? These symptoms can have an adverse effect on the quality of care given to patients while on-site or in route to the hospital.

According to The National Sleep Foundation, 10% of night and rotating shift workers are thought to have a condition known as shift work disorder, which is linked to sleep issues, chronic diseases, and other illnesses. These shifts lead to constantly interrupted rest, which discourages a healthy sleep pattern or circadian rhythm. Shift work disorder inhibits the ability to fall into a deep sleep.

Side Effects

Studies have shown habitual sleep deprivation consisted of 4.5 to 6 hours per night can lead to the development of Type 2 Diabetes due to high levels of glucose in the blood. Continual sleep loss results in less insulin production, which triggers an increase in stress hormones, like cortisol.

When the body produces high levels of cortisol, it only makes falling asleep more difficult. Getting too little sleep also leads to an increased appetite for high carb and sugary foods. With lack of energy and a heightened appetite for high-calorie foods, what do you think comes next? You guessed it, weight gain.

According to an article found on JEMS.com only 22% of paramedics are considered a healthy weight, while 44% were overweight and 33% were obese. If you think age plays a role in these statistics, you’re mistaken. Over 75% of those considered obese have been categorized as hypertensive or prehypertensive.

Is there a way to generate more time for rest between shifts to reduce the stress levels of employees? With proper shift management programs and fatigue awareness, managers can learn how to tweak shifts at the press of a button to reduce fatigue-related accidents and employee burnout.

How to Spot Fatigue

Habitual shift workers have learned how to cope with constant exhaustion and tiredness while on the clock. As call volume has drastically increased over the past two decades a tide has changed in the industry, and not for the better. Physical expectations have lowered, budgets squeezed tighter, and an overwhelming increase in shift demands.

Before a problem can be solved, it must first be identified. Too often operations managers are unaware of the true level of fatigue their teams are experiencing. Not that blame solely lies with management, employees should voice what they’re experiencing and how it’s affecting their work. But is there a way to properly inform managers of fatigue? This is where utilizing an EMS shift scheduling programs come in handy.

Some platforms have features that allow managers to create and distribute an unlimited number of user-friendly documents that can be emailed or texted out to all employees through the software. This way managers can create, track, and report on levels of fatigue based on employee feedback. If you are worried employees will disregard your message, managers can enable profile lockdowns until the recipient has acknowledged and sent a response. Take proper action based on the information gathered from employees and adjust shifts accordingly.

Having the ability to gather information and update individual employee schedules with a few simple clicks will transform the way you schedule your team’s shifts. Our shift scheduling programs give you this control.

Decrease Time Waste

The nature of EMS work is complex, and the workload often requires long stretches of time and formulating ways to decrease shift durations can be daunting.

Adopting an EMS software that reduces time spent on basic processes like incidental paperwork, fleet maintenance, and certification tracking can help decrease overtime and increase downtime for field workers.

Incident Reporting

When an incident occurs different branches of the company get involved in documenting the accident. For those involved, it usually entails a long trip back to the station and a hefty stack of paperwork. Instead of requiring field workers to report back to the station to fill out incident or equipment malfunction paperwork after an already long shift, give employees the option to submit reports through a web-based platform.

This drastically reduces the time an employee spends after a long shift. Managers can send forms to all involved in the accident with just a few clicks, keeping everyone in the loop with live updates. Automating these simple processes alone could save hours of extra time on the clock.

Finding time is a struggle in the EMS industry, but there are ways to help ease some of the tension by streamlining simple processes. Change is never easy but finding ways to prevent employee burnout and fatigue-related incidents is well worth the trouble. Find and utilize tools that will free up your staff to get the rest they need and to keep providing the best patient care possible.

 

Utilizing ePro Scheduler Plus and Add-On Tools to Regulate Fatigue

If you’ve noticed your agency is in needs of a better shift scheduling program, ePro Scheduler Plus is for you. ePro Scheduler provides the best EMS scheduling software features with a user friendly web-based platform. Our goal is to equip agencies with the freedom to create their own unique schedules as they please.

The ability to quickly generate and distribute employee schedules and receive feedback from employees ensures that the current schedule and payroll information is always up-to-date and accurate. The time & attendance solution lets you track actual attendance against the posted schedule.

–  ePro Tracker saves you time and allows for seamless communication between management teams by giving your employees 24/7/365 access to all your report forms from any location. Create an unlimited number of custom reports forms that best fit your specific organization’s needs, from vehicle accidents to equipment failures, to crew conflicts and commendations.

– With ePro Fleet, you can configure custom preventive maintenance schedules by miles, engine hours or calendar date so you never miss a PM.

ePro ConEd offers a full suite of certification management: Track credit hours, and certifications. Automated email notifications to employees and managers as critical certifications expire. Generate printable, easy to create certificates for employees with your company logo.