The primary focus of the Emergency Medical Responder is to initiate immediate lifesaving care to critical patients who access the emergency medical system. This individual possesses the basic knowledge and skills necessary to provide lifesaving interventions while awaiting additional EMS response and to assist higher level personnel at the scene and during transport. Emergency Medical Responders function as part of a comprehensive EMS response, under medical oversight. Emergency Medical Responders perform basic interventions with minimal equipment.
The Emergency Medical Responder’s scope of practice includes simple skills focused on lifesaving interventions for critical patients. Typically, the Emergency Medical Responder renders on-scene emergency care while awaiting additional EMS response and may serve as part of the transporting crew, but not as the primary care giver.
In many communities, Emergency Medical Responders provide a mechanism to increase the likelihood that trained personnel and lifesaving equipment can be rapidly deployed to serious emergencies. In all cases, Emergency Medical Responders are part of a tiered response system. Emergency Medical Responders work alongside other EMS and health care professionals as an integral part of the emergency care team.
The Emergency Medical Responder’s scope of practice includes simple, non-invasive interventions to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with acute out-of-hospital medical and traumatic emergencies. Emergency care is based on assessment findings. Additionally, the Emergency Medical Responder provides care designed to minimize secondary injury and comfort the patient and family while awaiting additional EMS resources.
A major difference between the lay person and the Emergency Medical Responder is the “duty to act” as part of an organized EMS response.
In some systems, Emergency Medical Responders serve as a part of the crew on transporting EMS units; however, the EMR is not intended to be the highest level caregiver in such situations. They must function with an EMT or higher level personnel during the transportation of emergency patients. The scope of practice model of an EMRis limited to simple skills that are effective and can be performed safely in an out-of-hospital setting with medical oversight.
After initiating care, the Emergency Medical Responder transfers care to higher level personnel. The Emergency Medical Responder serves as part of an EMS response system that ensures a progressive increase in the level of assessment and care.1