How EMTs Should Respond to Patients With Disabilities

How EMTs Should Respond to Patients With Disabilities
  • Opening Intro -

    Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) save many lives on the front lines.

    They meet and treat different groups of people daily, including patients with disabilities.


While training the next group of prospective emergency service workers, help them build their knowledge on identifying and treating patients with disabilities.

Workers in the field of emergency medical services (EMS) must know how to assess a patient with disabilities, so they know how to approach and communicate with them. Consider these things when learning how EMTs should respond to patients with disabilities.

Train EMTS on Identifying and Treating Patients With Disabilities

One of the things that EMT workers may find hard if they do not have proper training is identifying patients with disabilities. EMT workers can spend time working on case studies where they learn what things to look for in a patient with a disability.

For example, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) signs vary, and the one that often comes up is sensory sensitivity. Have EMTs work in groups to identify patients with disabilities in imagined scenarios and develop strategies for communication and how to treat patients properly.

Train EMTs on How To Use the Equipment

Workers must know how to use their equipment before treatment. Since your crew may come across patients with disabilities, it may be a good idea to coach them on using equipment specifically for patients with disabilities, such as wheelchairs and communication devices.

In EMT training classes, students can practice opening and setting up equipment so they’re ready for patients when needed; they can also learn how communication devices work and how to understand the needs of a patient with a disability.

Learn How To Communicate With Patients

Communication is crucial, especially for a patient with disabilities. Some patients may struggle to understand what happened and why they are going to the hospital. Knowing how to communicate with a patient with a disability during an emergency is critical, so patients with disabilities can get the proper care they need.

As EMTs learn to communicate with patients with disabilities, explaining what EMS medical gear they use while treating them is essential. Explaining what you plan to use for a patient with a disability can help them feel more comfortable getting treated and transported to a hospital.

Are there other ways to tell if you may be treating a patient with a disability in an emergency? There are! Parents and caregivers have signs attached to their vehicles that alert EMTs that a person aboard has a disability. This helps workers know that a patient needs extra assistance in a crisis.

Patients may also wear medical jewelry identifying their disability. You can learn what a patient’s disability is by looking at their jewelry, and if they have a medical device to help with communication, inquiring them to use it can also help! Remember this information as your EMTs train to identify and treat patients with disabilities with the best care.



Image Credit: Adobe royalty-free stock image: #542738736

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