While inequalities in prehospital care may be attributed to ageism, studies that examine the perceptions of age and aging among prehospital Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers are lacking. This qualitative study addressed this gap in the literature by utilizing grounded theory methodology and ethnographic interviewing techniques to more deeply understand EMS providers’ perceptions of age and aging. Over 22 hours of audio were collected from 17 EMS providers, each with a minimum of 5 years EMS experience. Results of thematic analysis revealed a significant, overarching theme: EMS providers’ strong dislike of nursing homes and assisted living facilities (ALFs). Two other themes emerged that related to the first theme, with EMS providers reporting the belief that responses to nursing home/ALFs are typically non-emergent, or not requiring an urgent response, and feelings of futility regarding the care of nursing home/ALF patients. In contrast to these perspectives on nursing home/ALF organizations, analysis revealed that participants tended to view older adult patients as generally more time-consuming in comparison to younger adult patients, interesting storytellers, and grateful patients. Given that older adults utilize EMS more than any other age group, understanding how providers perceive age and aging is crucial. Implications of these findings and their potential effects on patient care as well as suggestions for future research are discussed.
|Commitee:||Bissell, Rick, Eckert, Kevin, Gruber-Baldini, Ann, Miller, Nancy, Rubinstein, Robert|
|School:||University of Maryland, Baltimore County|
|School Location:||United States -- Maryland|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Medical personnel, Social research, Gerontology, Aging|
|Keywords:||Ems, Older adults, Prehospital|
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