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The debriefing plan of action failure

Discussion in 'Military & Emergency Services' started by FragileGlass, May 25, 2018.

  1. FragileGlass

    FragileGlass Active Member

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    For awhile back (8 months or so) I was posting on here at the height an emotionally challenging incident that blurred my sense of understanding of PTSD being specifically traumatic or tragedy related due to the environment of working as security member in a busy ER unit in a hospital. This particular incident took 23 days to come to an end. It was a stressful issue, but not an outright traumatic issue or tragedy. Absolutely affecting nonetheless. Still dealing with that issue, I know it’s going to haunt me further down the road. But, there wasn’t a death, tragedy or threat to life, his or mine. It was a damaging 23 days nonetheless.

    So now, eight months later I am the proud owner of many initials and acronyms in discussion with psychologist. (OSI) Operational Stress Injury, (ASD) Acute Stress Disorder and (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. All three run concurrently as I still face incidents ongoing, react to some in varying degrees in the short term, haunted by some in the long term.

    I had a meeting with my HR department, supervisors, senior management in discussion about where and how any of this could have been prevented. To my sadness I realize that there is a significant problem in how management categorizes it’s need for debriefing and incident de-escalation.

    Their plan falls into ‘substantial’ tragedy or trauma. I asked what qualified for them to enact debriefing or de-escalation. Their benchmark was fairly extreme. Mass casualty, weapon use (presenting with a knife or gun is not the same as firing said gun or using said knife), bomb threat. Significant personal injury or life threatening injury. (Patient punching you three times in the face did not count) and the list goes on.

    I left that meeting more angry than I have ever been because I realized the failure that is facing those of us who work in Emergency / First Resonder related situations.

    I’m angry that they are waiting for the ‘big events’ without understanding the cumulative effects of far less stressful situations are having during the long term.

    I’m currently off work because of a patient caused injury (unrelated to the event I mentioned above), two months ago. The long term care dementia patient who injured me died four days after injuring me. For the short term, I do carry a burden of guilt that our violent interaction was his last moments of consciousness. The cause for our violent moment was that he had open heart surgery, the anaesthetic wore off, through the disorientation and dementia, patient went combative. His death due to complications from the surgery, age and other health factors. I’m also not blind to the fact that our violent interaction did not help his cause. Although I have never been questioned nor blamed for his death in any manner. I do carry that burden of ‘what if’.

    My employer did not see this as an incident requiring debriefing or counselling because cause and effect were unrelated.

    This is my opinion, but I think the direct failure in all this. That agencies are so focused on major events, they don’t pay attention to the cumulative effects that daily exposure to lesser incidents is affecting our long term mental health, so that when those big ones do come. It’s far more impactful than it may have been if we had healthier ways to unload the little events along the way.

    I’m writing this with a lot of sadness..... because someone I worked closely with at my hospital ER, a member of the local paramedic team decided to end his life a couple days ago, I remember talking to him a year or so ago. He said, ‘after awhile, they all start hurting in some way’. I feel those words very much. He was right.
     
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  3. brokenEMT

    brokenEMT Well-Known Member

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    hi @FragileGlass

    I find it absolutely mind boggling that hospital security aren't considered first responders. My bad I guess, but I assumed that you would be considered similar to corrections officers and law enforcement, and included as first responders.

    Sending support your way, and :hug:

    Condolences for the loss of your team member. I lost 2 friends and co-workers to suicide in 2015, so I definitely empathize.
     
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  4. FragileGlass

    FragileGlass Active Member

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    @brokenEMT As you can imagine and already familiar with yourself. Paramedics, Fire and Police are struggling to get proper resources and recognition for these struggles but have made really small footsteps into gaining access to some services whether professional or peer support. I have tried to access First Responder programs but because I don’t fall under any of those designations. I’m dead in the water.

    I understand it’s tricky to designate Security Services as First Responder - not to diminish other security positions or responsibilities, there is considerable difference between Condo Security and Hospital Security. I believe Hospital Security should have its own license designation which separates us from other security positions. Armed Guards have their own license designation. Rightfully so.

    Thank you for your thoughts and comment :) I appreciate it!
     
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  5. brokenEMT

    brokenEMT Well-Known Member

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    yeah I'm not sure why it's such a struggle, and why there's so much splitting of hairs and semantics, to get access to resources. The old way isn't working, and there's a ptsd epidemic within the emergency and first responder communities. Leaving uniformed groups, like yourself, out... is just going to keep that trauma avalanche rolling.

    do you have a peer support group? if not, and the province or your employer won't pay for the training, you can get the training independently and set up your own group. You could also then have your own defusing and debriefing sessions, without relying on your employer's opinion of what constitutes a traumatic event. I paid for CISM and suicide awareness training for myself, and because it was "professional development" it was all tax deductible, so I got the money back the next year.
     
  6. EveHarrington

    EveHarrington _______ in progress. Premium Member

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    It’s amazing how much hospital security has to deal with! Our hospital is contracting with the local sheriffs department because they’re called out so much anyway. Now we’re going to have actual policemen stationed at the hospital in addition to security guards. Just for reference, this isn’t a big city hospital. I live in a more rural part of the USA. There’s something about a loved one being sick that puts people on edge and makes them act in ways they wouldn’t normally act. God knows it made my dad a total idiot....a story that we still talk about to this day. But I digress...
     
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  7. Peaceful Warrior

    Peaceful Warrior Member

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    I'm not sure if this is comforting or not, but some professionals will say debriefings where you re tell the incident may cause more harm than good. As far as preventing ptsd, they are doing studies and giving trauma victims certain meds right after the incident to see if that helps prevent. There is still a lot of learning that needs to happen in the psychological community and workforce. I had four debriefings and ended up with it.
     
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  8. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

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    Me too!!! hubby did that for several years at one of our big hospitals that got all the gang stuff and was exposed to a ton of bad stuff.

    Debriefings and peer support are woefully lacking all through public safety. But. There are changes coming. Slowly, but they are coming. the powers that be are finally starting to realize the monetary problems associated with ptsd and retaining employees. Sad that it's being driven by money, happy it;s finally starting to come along. Sad it is too late for many of us, hapy we are taking better care of our youngsters.
     
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  9. Peaceful Warrior

    Peaceful Warrior Member

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    In Florida our Governor just signed a bill that recognizes ptsd as an occupational disease and has it covered under workers comp now. That's a huge step forward because although workers comp will try to fight the employee, its slowly transitioning from the pink elephant in the room everyone sees, but doesnt acknowledge. This will force Florida counties, municipalities and the state to deal with it. As a first responder, it's not IF your career is going to effect you, it's how MUCH it will effect you based on your tour and what you are exposed to.
     
  10. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

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  11. Peaceful Warrior

    Peaceful Warrior Member

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    I know at least one of them they did.
     
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  12. FragileGlass

    FragileGlass Active Member

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    I’m hopeful that they will review the whole Emergency Response Network. The whole thing is useless without certain spokes in the wheel. While I have nothing but absolute respect and unwavering support for Paramedic, Fire and Police.

    I think they should broaden the First Responder designation to Emergency Providers. Opens the spokes far greater for better peer support but still limits the scope to only those who respond to Emergency Crisis.

    PTSD and Operational Stress can often be a lonely experience, I think it would be amazing for a Paramedic to know that the hospital security guard feels their pain too. I think it would help a police officer to know a bad call is understood and felt by a 911 dispatcher and vice versa. Our departments work amazing together from the phone, on scene to the hospitals. However, our agencies and departments segregate our suffering. The complete opposite of how we come together during an Emergency Crisis.
     
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  13. FragileGlass

    FragileGlass Active Member

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    @Peaceful Warrior Thank you for your thoughts. Sadly, it is comforting to read your words.

    Any of us in this line of work have been (still are) a little more rugged and durable than most when it comes to stress exposure. However, we don’t get to pick which events affect us. They adopt us. It doesn’t matter how small or large scale that event was. It was the golden goose waiting for our involvement. Not that list they hold on to.

    I believe the whole debriefing process is a failed process. The fact that they have a predetermined list before intervention is the failure. It’s the ongoing daily and weekly management that is badly needed. Mandatory company paid yoga classes, massages, relaxation therapies. I’m just throwing out ridiculous ideas.... I’m sure any one of those options would be cheaper than what it’s costing to have me off work indefinitely.
     
    Freida likes this.
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