A mixed methods analysis of caller-emergency medical dispatcher communication during 9–1–1 calls for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest

Christopher Thomas Richards*, Danielle Molloy McCarthy, Eddie Markul, Doreen R. Rottman, Patricia Lindeman, Shyam Prabhakaran, Diego Klabjan, Jane Louise Holl, Kenzie A Cameron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Recognition of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) during 9–1–1 calls is critically important, but little is known about how laypersons and emergency medical dispatchers (EMDs) communicate. We sought to describe 9–1–1 calls for OHCA. Methods: We performed a mixed-methods, retrospective analysis of 9–1–1 calls for OHCA victims in a large urban emergency medical services (EMS) system using a random sampling of cases containing the term “cardiopulmonary resuscitation” (CPR) in the EMS electronic report. A constant comparison qualitative approach with four independent reviewers continued until thematic saturation was achieved. Quantitative analysis employed computational linguistics. Callers’ emotional states were rated using the emotional content and cooperation score (ECCS). Results: Thematic saturation was achieved after 46 calls. Three “OHCA recognition” themes emerged [ 1) disparate OHCA terms used, 2) OHCA mimics create challenges, 3) EMD questions influence recognition]. Three “CPR facilitation” themes emerged [ 1) directive language may facilitate CPR, 2) specific instructions assist CPR, 3) caller's emotions affect CPR initiation]. Callers were generally “anxious but cooperative.” Callers saying “pulse” was associated with OHCA recognition. Conclusion: Communication characteristics appear to influence OHCA recognition and CPR facilitation. Practice implications: Dispatch protocols that acknowledge characteristics of callers’ communication may improve OHCA recognition and CPR facilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPatient education and counseling
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Cardiac arrest
  • CPR
  • Emergency communication
  • Emergency medical dispatch
  • Emergency medical services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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