Increasing paramedics' comfort and knowledge about children with special health care needs

Daniel W Spaite, Katherine J. Karriker, Marsha Seng, Carol Conroy, Norma Battaglia, Mark Tibbitts, Harvey W Meislin, Ronald M. Salik, Terence D Valenzuela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


This study evaluated a continuing education program for paramedics about children with special health care needs (CSHCN). Pretraining, posttraining, and follow-up surveys containing two scales (comfort with CSHCN management skills and comfort with Pediatric Advanced Life Support [PALS] skills) were administered. Objective measures of knowledge were obtained from pre- and posttraining tests. Differences in average scores were assessed using t-tests. Response rates for paramedics completing the program ranged from 94% for the posttraining survey, 81% for the initial comfort survey, 56% for the knowledge pretest, and 56% for the follow-up survey. PALS comfort scores were significantly higher than CSHCN comfort scores both before and after training, both P < .01. Posttraining surveys showed an increase in CSHCN comfort, P < .01. The follow-up surveys showed a significant decline in CSHCN comfort, P = .05. Scores on the tests showed a similar pattern, with a significant increase in knowledge from pre- to posttraining (P = .02) and a significant decrease in knowledge from posttraining to follow-up (P < .01). Comfort was significantly higher for standard pediatric skills than for specialized management skills. Completion of the self-study program was associated with an increase in comfort and knowledge, but there was some decay over time. (C) 2000 by W.B. Saunders Company.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747-752
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2000



  • Children with special needs
  • Education
  • Emergency medical service
  • Pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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