Critical Incident Stress Management Services (CISM)

Understanding Critical Incidents

A critical incident is an event taking place that causes a powerful emotional reaction.   The EFAP provides CISM services for work related critical incidents.
Some common examples in health care are:

  • Death or suffering of a patient, resident, or colleague;
  • Caring for a patient or resident you know or who reminds you of someone you know;
  • Needle stick injury or any medical task that has put you at risk;
  • Threatening behaviour, verbal or physical, in the workplace or while at work in the community;
  • Disaster or multiple casualty incidents;
  • An adverse medical event.

Critical incident stress is a normal reaction to an abnormal event.  This response can be immediate or delayed, and can be triggered by a single or a series of events.
Some common critical stress reactions are:

  • Physical or emotional fatigue;
  • Anxiety, irritability, or agitation;
  • Apathy or depression;
  • Difficulty concentrating/making decisions;
  • Disrupted sleep, nightmares, flash backs, hyper-vigilance;
  • Overuse of drugs, alcohol, or prescription medicines;
  • Desire to spend more time alone than usual.

CISM services help those impacted by critical stress by offering opportunities for healthcare employees to talk about difficult events in a confidential, safe, and supportive process.  The process may involve an individual or group intervention, and could include personal coping strategies, advice to family and friends, and assistance to the managers and supervisors involved in the situation.

24 Hour Service

Local senior-level clinicians are available to provide triage and consultation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Use the links below or to the left to learn more about:

Please note that there may be a cost associated with this training.