Jan 21, 2011

A Walk In The Park For Us, Is The Great Unknown

Its dark out and she was woken from a sound sleep by an unfamiliar feeling. An uneasy feeling begins to set in as she gains her baring, readjusting her position in bed she closes her eyes. The sensation does not go away no matter which way she lays. Sitting up in bed she just cant shake this feeling, the sensation, the pressure as if someone is sitting on her chest. Not like reflux she has had before, but a feeling scary enough to call for help. 

The 3am call for chest pain is a walk in the park for most, but for the 65 year old female who has never experienced this feeling a day in her life its not just a walk in the park. Its the change of a life time, its scary, its not normal, its new and unfamiliar. We in EMS assess, treat, reassess, repeat; its what makes good providers. What makes better providers is the ability to ease and calm by voice, the ones who reassure the patients through the process of our skill set. Informing our customer of the next step we will take, the multiple things that will be going on all at once all around her.

Not including the frequent flyers, EMS typically knows a lot more than the average person of what goes on in the Emergency room in the first few moments of the ambulance's arrival. Its simply a matter that we get exposed to the initial greeting and assessments of the patient by the ER staff, the annoying wait times for a room, the feeling of udder avoidance by staff, or the paparazzi like attention patients get. As with anything repetitive it begins to be ingrained with in or such common place for us ambulance folks we don't bat an eye at the process. We have become use to it, or if your still a wet tag you'll get use to it and understand everything that goes on and even what to expect from the staff, depending on your patient .

The ones who don't understand are our patients, who already are scared for calling over their personal emergency. We have talked them through what we will do but have we talked them through what will happen?

Recently I have been complimented by coworkers and recent patients on my inclusion of what will occur once the rig stops and the off loading begins. I find it odd that it may not be common place for providers to share their gained knowledge and continue to ease our customer through the transition into the hospital. I'm no expert of what will happen step by step but I know that the process in my region is strangely similar to our first few minutes with a patient. 

So if you know that there is a chance of waiting for a room let the customer know that you'll be with them waiting and they wont just be moved into a chair and avoided. If you know their injury or illness is considered minor and that they will be placed in triage inform them of how that process works. If you know that the customers condition is one that will gain the ER's entire attention tell them of how many people will be swarming around them. 

After all its the least we can do for our customers to help them through the transition.

Be Safe
Ambulance Junkie

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