Critical Incident Stress Management – Guidance Material

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Critical Incident Stress Management – Guidance Material

37TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Toulouse, France, 30 March – 3 April 1998

WP No. 146

Critical Incident Stress Management – Guidance Material

Introduction

This item was placed on the work programme of Standing Committee 4 but Trinidad and Tobago who were given responsibility for the item was unable to complete the draft paper in time for it to be previewed at the final SC4 meeting. Accordingly, this paper is now being presented by Trinidad and Tobago.

At Taipei ‘97, IFATCA adopted policy on Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM). The intention of this paper is to recommend guidelines to assist MAs in setting up their own CISM programmes.

Guidance Material is defined on page 2881 of the Manual as “comprehensive papers which cannot be reduced to the form of a clear cut recommendation, but which should be duly observed by the Member Associations or should be presented to other organisations for consideration…”

This working paper will recommend the adoption as an attachment to the IFATCA policy relating to Medical Matters in the same way as there is an attachment to the policy relating to ATC Training.

Discussion

In 1993, the Federation was introduced to the concept of CISM in Air Traffic Control as it was then practised in Canada. This programme was developed by Anne Logie in conjunction with air traffic controllers based on the Jeffrey Mitchell model. Since then several MAs have introduced their own CISM programmes. The experience has been that the needs of air traffic controllers where this programme is concerned differ from those of emergency personnel for whom the Mitchell model was originally conceived. In addition, there may be cultural differences to consider.

This experience indicates that though strict policy should not be written, there are guidelines that should be followed to ensure that a CISM programme succeeds. The purpose of these is to establish standard and continuity.

This warning against strict policy is not just for the Federation but for any provider of psychological assistance to air traffic controllers. CISM programmes have proven to be of significant assistance to air traffic controllers. However, if not implemented correctly, the chances that a programme will fail are extremely high. A programme such as this is also very sensitive to abuse. As the undisputed representative of air traffic controllers, IFATCA has an obligation to ensure that anything done for or in the name of air traffic controllers meets the required standards.

The attachment will be in the form of definitive statements followed by elaborations; this will be followed by appendices of available CISM information resources and recommended readings; these are by no means exhaustive. It should be the responsibility of SC4 to ensure that these appendices are kept up to date.

An ongoing question, already addressed by SC4, is whether IFATCA should play a more active role in the implementation of CISM programmes for MAs.

Trinidad and Tobago believes that IFATCA can play a role in facilitating the implementation of CISM programmes for MAs without significant cost to IFATCA. SC4 should therefore monitor any developments in this regard.

Conclusion

The experience of air traffic controllers with CISM has shown that while strict policy should not be written, there are guidelines that should be followed to ensure that a programme, once implemented, is successful.

As the representative of air traffic controllers, IFATCA has an obligation to ensure that certain standards are met when services are provided for air traffic controllers. A CISM programme is particularly sensitive to abuse; this possibility can be reduced significantly through IFATCA’s guidance.

SC4 should ensure that the appendices of available CISM information resources and recommended readings that form part of the guidance material are kept up to date.

SC4 should continue to monitor the development of CISM especially with regard to whether IFATCA can play a more active role in facilitating the implementation of CISM programmes by MAs.

Recommendations

That SC4 continue to monitor the development of CISM especially with regard to whether IFATCA can play a more active role in facilitating the implementation of CISM programmes by MAs.

To accept the model of a suggested CISM course design into the IFATCA Manual as an amendment to Part 4, Chapter 2 (policy related to Medical matters).

A new paragraph 2.4.6 be inserted on page 4223 of the IFATCA Manual to make reference to the existence of this Model as an attachment to Part 4, Chapter 2.

Last Update: September 28, 2020  

March 10, 2020   269   Jean-Francois Lepage    1998    

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