Stress is your body's way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When [faced with a stressor] —whether it's real or imagined—the body's defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the "fight-or-flight" reaction or the "stress response".
Stress is a response. It is something your body does.
Stress is a physiological response. It is neither positive nor negative. It is initially neutral. The situation and your interpretation determine if it is good or bad.
A stressor is the thing that causes the stress response. Your body's stress response is prompted by a demand (requirement, expectation) or threat. It can also occur when we are excited, in an emergency, or witnessing a trauma.
The demand or threat could be real, or not real. In some cases the demand or threat only exists in a persons perception, imagination, or assumption
Real: a bear, a mugger, a deadline, job loss, loss of a loved one etc...
Perceived only: what if's, pessimistic assumptions, fear of failure
Your body's stress response is facilitated by your endocrine and nervous systems' autonomic-sympathetic functions.
Fight or flight response
Emotional distress — some combination of anger or irritability, anxiety and depression, the three stress emotions.
Muscular problems including tension headache, back pain, jaw pain and the muscular tensions that lead to pulled muscles and tendon and ligament problems.
Stomach, gut and bowel problems such as heartburn, acid stomach, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
Transient over-arousal leads to elevation in blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, heart palpitations, dizziness, migraine headaches, cold hands or feet, shortness of breath and chest pain.
Definition: Crisis is considered a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger.
Consider that paramedics are frequently called to intervene in situations where people are experiencing... "a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger." Not all paramedic calls will be emergencies, however, medical and traumatic emergencies are usually a crisis.
A crisis causes a stress response, which creates feelings of anxiety
The content of this course, as well as the whole Loyalist Paramedic Program, is designed to educate and equip you, the paramedic student, to effectively intervene in times of crisis, working towards the best possible outcome, within your means. The job of a first responder is crisis intervention.
Unfortunately, there is no script. Assess the scene and the people in each situation to determine the safest and most compassionate way to deliver the sad news.
Consider safety, people may react to grief in physical ways. Position yourself between them and the door, or other escape route.
For safety avoid delivering news to a large group. Ask primary people (no more than 4 or 5) to step aside with you to a private place to deliver the news.
Remember, initially the grief spike has its grip on the survivors
Give them a safe private space to get through it, and let them tell other people in their own way
Do not mention anything about religion, the afterlife, relief from pain, or make any other personal or subjective assumptions
Address them with compassion - avoid standing above them. Instead sit or squat with eyes at the same level
If the survivor is alone, call for a friend, neighbour, clergy member or relative
Introduce yourself by name and position
Although it might seem blunt, use words like "dead" or "died". Do not use euphemisms
Use gentle eye contact, and/or appropriate touch (e.g. arm, shoulder, back) for comfort
A stimulus that causes a stress response is a stressor and paramedics will incounter the following stressors:
Administrative stressors: waiting for calls, shift work, acquiring adequate work hours, recertification requirements, changing protocols, etc...
Scene related stressors: busy highway/roads, flying debris, vomit, loud noises, emotional bystanders, slippery conditions, etc...
Emotional and Physical stressors: Fear, abusive patients, frustration, exhaustion, hunger, thirst.
Environmental stressors: Siren noises, inclement weather, confined workspaces, and the frequent urgent need for rapid scene responses and life-or-death decisions.
Psychological stressors can lead to strain on family relationships and can lead to conflict with supervisors
work stress overload can lead to burnout.