Responsibility and compassion in prehospital support to survivors of suicide victim – Professionals’ experiences.

Christina Nilsson (1,2), Anders Bremer (3), Karin Blomberg (2), Mia Svantesson (1,2)
Region Örebro County (1), Örebro University (2), Linnaeus University (3)
Summary of introduction
Death is not only an ending: it is also a beginning for the survivors of the suicide victim. In order to improve the support for them, there is a need is to understand the experiences of the involved professionals in the acute situation.
Aim
To describe experiences of facing and supporting survivors of suicide victim from the perspectives of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel, police officers and general practitioners.
Method
Six focus group discussions with EMS personnel, police officers and general practitioners. Data were analysed using content analysis.
Result
The EMS personnel, police officers and general practitioners described the situation as being characterised by feelings of inadequacy as they faced the survivors’ emotional storm and despair. They made attempts to shield themselves and also the survivors. Focus was on the survivors, to give time, to be accessible and to find a person who could continue providing support. The professionals experienced a deep sense of uncertainty about their responsibility and feeling torn in their professional role and a frustration over lack of guidelines.
Conclusion
This complex situation involves not only the ethical conflict of ‘should I stay or should I go’, i.e. whether to take responsibility or not, but also each professional’s capacity and courage to give both compassion and support.