Within the paramedicine context, the ability to perform at the highest level has a direct bearing on patient survival and health outcomes. Prolonged manual handling, alertness and precise cognitive tasks are required in daily shift work which can be affected with fatigue and associated effects. Sleep disturbances has been linked to reduced cognitive function, alertness and reaction time, and therefore has impacts on decision-making and overall outcome of emergency calls. Therefore, the ability for front line paramedics to perform at the optimum capacity is vital for patient care along with the wellbeing of the paramedics. The autonomic system functions as the adaptive interface between internal bodily functions and the external stimuli, to coordinate an adaptive response to meet various stresses and provide optimal function at that given time. With the varying levels of intense pressure, cognitive processing and prolonged physical demand found in Paramedicine, autonomic regulation plays a vital role in occupational performance. Fatigue monitoring through heart rate variability, in conjunction with the novel ocular biofeedback of pupil responsiveness, Pupillometry, can provide insight into both physical and cognitive fatigue associated with occupational readiness and occupational performance in Paramedics. The current projects is investigating the use of Pupillometry, during virtual reality simulation, as a measure of autonomic fatigue within Paramedics.
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