Patient and family conduct
Your role in protecting paramedics
Violence is not part of a paramedic’s job. Over time, paramedics can suffer from high stress and poor mental health. This suffering doesn’t affect only paramedics: it also hurts their partners, children, parents, and friends.
Instances of violence against Peel paramedics
According to a 2019 survey:
- 97% have been verbally abused.
- 86% have been intimidated.
- 80% have been physically assaulted.
- 62% have been sexually harassed.
- 14% have been sexually assaulted.
How violence against paramedics affects everyone
- If a paramedic is worried about their safety, they can’t focus 100% on a patient, no matter how much they want to.
- When a patient assaults a paramedic, the harmful effects can carry over to the next call and the call after that.
- Physical assaults can cause injuries that lead to time off work. This could mean fewer paramedics being available to respond to emergencies.
- If a paramedic is harassed or assaulted at your home, your address will be flagged in the 9-1-1 system. The next time you call 911, the paramedics may wait for police officers before entering. It may take longer to get the care you need.
Peel Regional Paramedic Services has a zero tolerance policy for violence. We take harassment and assaults against staff seriously.
A patient or family member who verbally, physically, or sexually harasses or assaults a Peel paramedic might be reported to Peel Regional Police and criminally charged.
Verbal assault includes:
- criticizing performance
- racial slurs
Physical assault includes:
Sexual harassment includes:
- Any behaviour of a sexual nature.
- Obscene gestures.
- Sexual comments.
Sexual assault includes:
- Brushing, touching, or grabbing a paramedic’s breast.
- Brushing, touching, or grabbing a paramedic’s genital area.
Respect the paramedics who are providing care
Paramedics go through years of schooling and special training. Trust that they know what they’re doing and make sure your family trusts them too. They want nothing more than to help you.
Respect the paramedics’ decisions
Paramedics must take a patient to the most appropriate hospital based on their condition. They cannot take requests. Do not argue or ask for a different hospital.
Paramedics also decide if family members can ride in the ambulance. They may say no to limit distractions and give their patient the best possible care. (Note: during the COVID-19 pandemic, no family members can ride in the ambulance.)
Give them space
Please stay out of the paramedics’ way. Distractions can be dangerous and delay care.
Call the police if you see a paramedic being assaulted
Paramedics are regular people, and there are times when they need help too. If you see someone assaulting or harassing a paramedic, call 911 (if it’s safe to do so).
Don’t expect paramedics to run
Paramedics must walk when moving towards a patient. They want to reach you quickly, but they must be careful not to rush.
To learn more about this precaution, read Peel paramedics have to be safe to keep their patients safe.
Say thank you
When you have a good experience, take a few moments to thank the paramedics who helped. Your kind words make a difference.