Training paramedics: Emergency care for children with special health care needs

Daniel W. Spaite, Katherine J. Karriker, Marsha Seng, Carol Conroy, Norma Battaglia, Mark Tibbitts, Ronald M. Salik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective. To enhance knowledge and comfort related to the emergency care of children with special health care needs (CSHCN) through an innovative continuing education program for paramedics. Methods. A self-study program presenting in-depth information about common problems that affect the assessment and management of a child's airway, breathing, circulation, disability, and environment (ABCDEs), regardless of the child's diagnosis, was developed. This program used a manual, a video, practice mannequins, and skills evaluations to teach skills to paramedics employed at a municipal fire department. Results. Pre- and posttraining surveys found that the paramedics were significantly more comfortable with the assessment and management of CSHCN after the completion of the self-study program, with a pretraining average of 2.83 and posttraining average of 4.20 on a five-point Likert-type scale, t(37) = 12.87, p < 0.001. A skills evaluation showed that skills performance varied widely across 21 skills, ranging from skills mastery to low skills knowledge. On the posttraining survey, between 74% and 94% of the paramedics rated each topic (tracheostomies, indwelling central venous catheters, cerebrospinal fluid shunts, gastrostomies, child abuse, and latex allergy) as applicable to their practices as paramedics. Conclusion. Given the growing population of CSHCN, it is important to provide specialized education to increase an EMS provider's preparedness to respond to emergency situations involving children with special health care needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-185
Number of pages8
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000


  • Continuing education
  • Emergency medical services
  • Paramedics
  • Pediatrics
  • Prehospital
  • Special health care needs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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