Professional Fatigue Project: Research Release (Part 1)

The Impacts of Extended On-Call Hours on the Functioning of Paramedics

The Alberta Paramedic Association has been engaged in a collaborative review as part of our Professional Fatigue project, to assess the health and wellness effects of the 24 hour shift model currently being used in rural Alberta’s EMS delivery.

During this assessment which included current legislation, frontline consultation and research/literature review. Over the next few weeks, our members will be able to follow this project as we lobby for change and release more information by checking back here in the news feed frequently.

Here is an overview of some of the findings.

Legislation and Consultation

  • Shifts exist in rural Alberta using 24 hour, 48 hour and 96 hour scheduling in different variations that do not involve scheduled breaks.
  • There are -/+ 192 ambulances in Alberta using a variation of 24, 48 and 96 hour scheduling.
  • The Traffic Safety Act regarding hours of service regulation explicitly excludes Paramedics operating an ambulance.
  • Neither the Health Professions Act, Emergency Health Services Act, Commercial Vehicle Drivers legislation, nor the Occupational Health and Safety Act addresses limiting hours of work or ambulance operation.
  • “Recent changes to employment standards legislation did not amend or make changes to the standards for ambulance attendants.” Hon Christina Grey, Labour Minister

Paramedic Health and Safety Risk

  • Humans require 6-8 hours of uninterrupted rest in a 24 hour period to mitigate sleep starvation and sleep deprivation
  • With no rest periods scheduled, aforementioned paramedics are at risk of sleep starvation and sleep deprivation
  • Sleep starvation increases the risk of cancer, dementia, depression and PTSD
  • Sleep starvation exacerbates sleep pathology by increasing the length and pathophysiology of sleep apnea
  • Frontline paramedics are currently reporting using sick time to “catch up” on sleep.
  • Paramedics lacking scheduled breaks for extended periods have no access to personal psychological supports
  • Cognitive performance after 18 hours of wakefulness mimics blood alcohol levels of 0.10
  • Eye-hand coordination at 8 AM after being awake all night has been correlated with a blood alcohol level of 0.10

View or print the full report: The Impacts of Extended on-Call Hours on the Functioning of Paramedics (PDF Format)

Alberta College of Paramedics Renewal Season Begins

It is that time of year again, registration renewals are underway with the Alberta College of Paramedics. We are pleased to announce to our members that professional liability certificate numbers are ready to be issued for the registration process with the college. Members will find our 2019 Insurance Certificate tool available for use November 1, 2018.

We encourage all members to ensure their contact and billing information is updated with the association to ensure your continued membership and insurance coverage.

Augmented Reality testing opportunity!

Hello Alberta Paramedic Association members!

We are Hone Virtual Education Ltd., an Alberta based Technology Company spearheaded by two Alberta based paramedics and backed up by some of the sharpest minds in the Province.

We have designed an augmented reality (AR) tool for the development of illness “sign” recognition. As you know, recognizing the signs patients’ present with, such as tachypnea, directly leads to diagnosis and treatment. More accurate and timely recognition of these signs means more accurate diagnosis and more timely treatment, which means better patient outcomes.

This is not an ad, it is a request for your honest feedback. If you are interested in helping us beta test this product, please email us at to sign up to download our beta test prototype, use it, and provide us with your thoughts. We are looking to get together 100 beta testers this month.

For more info on our product, keep reading!

The module currently in development enables users to train in recognizing the signs of Respiratory Distress, to categorize patients, and to receive immediate feedback on their accuracy. Users will be able to do this at home, at work, or anywhere in between on high resolution, highly accurate simulated patients in an AR environment on any AR enabled smartphone or tablet.

Imagine a future where every student can train in identifying these signs before practicum, every aspiring superstar can practice to warm up before a shift, every practitioner reintegrating back into field work can see accurate patient simulations before the real thing, and where this simulation is worth continuing competency credits.

Imagine having this tool not only for Respiratory Distress, but also for the Scene Survey, Triage, and the Pediatric Assessment Triangle. For Neonatal Assessment, AVPU/GCS assessment, Airway assessment, Stroke Assessment, and more.

This is the future we aim to create.

We hope to hear from you!

Hone Virtual Education Ltd