Category Archives: Air Ambulance Paramedics

Guide to Tackling Hypoxia on Medical Flights at High Altitudes

Hypoxia is almost a certainty at high altitudes unless it is cared for. However, it does not usually occur as medical flights usually have pressurised cabins. This does not mean that we do not pay any heed to this potentially life-threatening condition, which is a real possibility on medical flights, when the altitudes are in excess of 10 thousand feet above the sea level.

The word hypoxia, when literally translated means lack of oxygen. A decrease in supply of oxygen to human body can bring about myriad symptoms and recognizing these, especially when in medical flights, is extremely important, as patients are usually already in a weak health position in air ambulances.

The Signs of Hypoxia on Medical Flights

Paramedics and nurses onboard medical flights must look for signs such as impaired judgement, lethargy, poor physical coordination, bluing of the skin (also known as cyanosis) and rapid breathing. The intensity of each of these signs may vary but these are the most visible signs that the patient is experiencing hypoxia.

The Symptoms of Hypoxia on Medical Flights

Surprisingly, euphoria or extreme happiness can be a symptom of hypoxia. Other symptoms can be a sensation of tingling, impaired visual capacity, cold or hot flashes, dizziness, headache, nausea, fatigue and air hunger. Not all symptoms might be present in one single individual but at least some of these might be present when the patients are hypoxic in medical flights.

The Effects of Hypoxia on Human Beings

It must be noted that about 20% of all oxygen that we take in is used by our brain. So, one of the first organs that is affected by hypoxia is the brain. If the brain is deprived of oxygen, it can lead to severe and permanent brain damage leaving the person with impaired functions for life. In extreme cases, it may even cause death. However, treating hypoxia, fortunately, is easy. All that patients aboard medical flights need is 100% oxygen and the symptoms vanish within a matter of seconds.

More Tips on Providing Better Pediatric Care for Air Ambulance Service Providers

In the previous post, we talked about some of the essentials for air ambulance service providers to ensure better pediatric emergency care. The post talked about understanding the common types of pediatric calls and providing evidence-based guidelines to your crew. But there’s much more to it than that. This post will continue with a few more useful tips that you can use to improve your pediatric air ambulance care.

Consult a Pediatric Specialist

The best way to learn about pediatric medical care is through someone who specializes in the field. It would be wise to get in touch with the children’s hospital in your region and see if their pediatric specialists would be willing to be a part of the medical direction system at your air ambulance service. If not, at least try to get them to review the protocols you have in place for pediatric emergency medical care and transport.

Get Specialized Air Ambulance Service Equipment for Pediatric Patients

Your air ambulance crew will also require specialized tools and equipment available so they can carry out emergency pediatric medical care per the protocols you have in place. Prioritize on equipping your aircraft with a tool that will help your crew in estimating the patient’s weight and determining the right drug dosage. You should have a drug quick-reference guide for pediatric patients, which your team can refer to when administering medications for pain, respiratory issues, or seizure.

It’s also recommended that you have a Wong-Baker Faces Scale that will help your crew in assessing the level of pain a pediatric patient is in when treating one for pain or traumatic injury. This is essential because many children have a hard time using the standard pain scale of zero to ten.

How Air Ambulance Service Providers can Offer Better Pediatric Care

When you’re a provider of air ambulance service, there may come a time when you get a call involving a pediatric patient. Although to some people this may seem like any other emergency call, it’s important to remember how complicated it can be to provide pediatric care. This post will help you gain some ideas on how to provide better care to pediatric patients.

Understand the Common Pediatric Call Types

One of the first steps to prepare yourself for better pediatric care is to identify the common types of calls you should be expecting. Most complaints involving younger children are related to seizures and respiratory distress. In adolescents and older children, you should expect to see a lot of calls related to traumatic injury along with psychiatric or behavioural complaints.

However, you should do a thorough audit of the kind of calls you get at your air ambulance service. This will help you gain a better understanding of the most common types of pediatric emergency calls specific to your agency. You can then train your crew to always be prepared for such kind of calls.

Provide Your Air Ambulance Service Crew with Evidence-Based Guidelines

Once you’re familiar with the common pediatric call types, you should look to secure offline medical direction that has been developed using protocols based on the current standards in pediatric care. You need to look for evidence-based guidelines that have been published recently and use them to provide guidance to your air ambulance crew.

There’s a pediatric seizure management guideline already available. You can also make the most of the pain control guideline for traumatic injuries. And you should soon expect to see a respiratory distress guideline that you can use for providing better pediatric air ambulance care.

How to Survive Your First Job as an Air Ambulance Transport Paramedic

Your dream job is to save lives as an air ambulance transport paramedic. Although you’re all ready with the necessary training and certifications to start your job, there’s a lot more involved to survive the career. It can be physically demanding and mentally exhausting. The work environment can be stressful as well depending on where you work. So here are some tips that will help you survive your first job as an air ambulance paramedic:

Take Good Care of Yourself

Although your job is to care for other people, it’s important that you take good care of yourself first. As mentioned earlier, being an air ambulance paramedic can be physically demanding. You’ll have to do a lot of patient lifting and running around with your gear. All of this can take a toll on your body, so you need to be prepared.

Otherwise, you could risk injuring yourself. You need to build your core strength and work towards improving your cardiovascular fitness. In addition to this, air ambulance transport paramedics need to get quality sleep so you can cope with shift work. And of course, you’ll also need to eat healthy to ensure that your body’s fit to carry out the various physical activities required while on call.

Pursue Interests Other than Air Ambulance Transport Paramedicine

It’s highly important for air ambulance paramedics to pursue other interests outside of their job. You could engage in some sport activities, play in a band, raise funds for charity, try your hand at crafts, etc. If the only thing you’re involved in is your job, you could easily burn out and experience issues that prevent you from continuing your work. Distract yourself with stress-relieving activities and take regular vacations to ensure mental health.

4 Rules Novice Medical Flight Paramedics Should Follow

You’re starting your first job as a medical flight paramedic, and you’re wondering how you should prepare for it. Of course you’ve already had thorough medical training but that may not be enough to ensure that you can succeed in your journey. There are several rules that you should remember and follow.

Rule #1: Protect your crew members

When you’re working as an air ambulance paramedic, you’d be working with a crew that comprises of pilots and nurses or even a doctor. And there may be times when you have to carry out missions that could be dangerous for the crew. It’s crucial that you work together as a team and watch each other’s backs whenever you’re responding to a call.

Rule #2: Practice incident documentation and patient recording

Another crucial part of your job as a medical flight paramedic is to ensure that you properly document every incident you respond to. And you must carefully record details about your patient so that there’s a smooth transition from your care to that of hospital personnel. You can’t afford to slack off when it comes to this, as even a minor detail missing or incorrect could have serious consequences.

Rule #3: Medical flight paramedics should always be friendly

A smile can make a huge difference for the patients you’re attending to and their family members. It’s important that you try to maintain a certain level of friendliness whenever you’re on duty. And try to ensure that this friendliness extends to your colleagues and your crew members as well.

Rule #4: Do everything in your power to help your patient

Another important rule is to make sure that your patients are as comfortable as possible. Even if it’s not within your job description, you should do whatever you can to help your patients – whether they require more pillows or an extra blanket, for instance.

How to Land Your Dream Job in Air Ambulance Transport Paramedicine

In an earlier post, we talked about the basics of getting hired to become an air ambulance transport paramedic. You might even have a job already but what if it’s not your dream job? You may be vying to work for a specific air ambulance company, which means you need to look for ways to ensure that you get hired. This post will provide you with useful tips to ensure that you land your dream air ambulance paramedic job.

It’s Okay to Start Somewhere Else

Even if the first job you land isn’t with a company that you like, you need to maintain the humility to accept the job as it could be a vital stepping stone. In the meantime, you should keep your eye on the long-term goal. Use the opportunity to learn more about the industry and find ways to further enhance your skills and knowledge.

Find Ways to Improve Your Resume

It’s important to remember that there may be many other air ambulance transport paramedics eyeing the same company as you. So it’s crucial that you stand out from the crowd to improve your chances of getting hired. This means enhancing your resume with special skills and certifications that will show prospective employers that you’re a desirable employee.

Try looking for ways to add specialized skills such as Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS) to your resume along with the basic certifications.

Physical fitness is vital for air ambulance transport paramedics

In addition to keep yourself mentally sharp and enhancing your resume, it’s also vital that you continue to maintain your physical fitness. You will have to go through agility tests during the hiring process. As these tests can be taxing, make sure you constantly keep fit in order to get through them.

Keeping Your Medical Flight Paramedics Safe

As an air ambulance provider, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your staff. This is particularly important for your medical flight paramedics, because there is a high possibility of them getting injured. We’ve even highlighted some of the causes of injury in two of our previous posts. So in this post, we’re going to discuss some of the ways in which you can improve workplace safety and prevent injury among your staff.

Enhancing Equipment Safety

The first thing you need to look at is your equipment. If you went through the previous posts, you would have seen that medical flight paramedics are commonly injured while lifting patients. So the best thing to do to prevent such injuries is to replace your traditional manual cots with powered patient transport equipment.

These will significantly reduce the physical strain on your paramedics. In turn, this will reduce the likelihood of experiencing injury. You could install assisted loading systems that will support the cot and make it easier for paramedics to load and unload patients onto the aircraft.

You should also equip your aircrafts with safety equipment that your paramedics can easily access when needed. This would include safety masks, gloves, and gowns to protect them from exposure to harmful substances.

Enhancing Medical Flight Safety

In addition to enhancing the safety of your equipment, you should also consider the safety of your aircraft. Whether you’re operating fixed-wing aircrafts or helicopters, you should do a thorough maintenance that will ensure optimum safety for your crew.

Have proper storage systems installed for your equipment, so that paramedics can easily access them when needed while at the same time preventing the equipment from exposure. And make sure you have a routine check of your engines and inbuilt flight equipment.

More Causes of Injury Among Air Ambulance Transport Paramedics

In the previous post, we talked about some of the top reasons why air ambulance transport paramedics get injured. This post will discuss some more common reasons for injury among air ambulance paramedics. It will also discuss some tips to prevent these injuries.

Other Common Causes of Injury for Air Ambulance Transport Paramedics

Earlier, we talked about how air ambulance paramedics are susceptible to injury from body motion and exposure to harmful substances. We also talked about how they are prone to slipping, tripping, or falling. Here are some other common reasons why an air ambulance paramedic could get injured:

  • Helicopter accidents – When you’re working as a paramedic for an air ambulance helicopter, there’s a chance you could get involved in a helicopter accident. Mechanical failures, low visibility, and heavy wind and rain could put your helicopter at risk of crashing. Some air ambulance paramedics have suffered from injuries resulting from a helicopter crash. Some of these injuries even turn out to be fatal.
  • Violence/assaults – In some cases, air ambulance transport paramedics might even encounter injury resulting from violence or assault from a patient. You might come across a violent patient, who may be under the influence or alcohol or some other substance. These incidents may result in physical harm in many cases, and in some cases may even result in physical injury that requires medical attention

Prevention of Injury for Air Ambulance Paramedics

Both employers and employees are responsible for preventing injury among air ambulance paramedics. Employers can offer education and training, provide safety equipment, develop policies and procedures, enforce said policies and procedures, and address potential safety hazards.

Employees can identify problem areas, voice their safety concerns, and report any incidents of near misses and injuries. Protecting themselves with available protective gear per their standard regulations is also crucial.

What Causes Injury for Air Ambulance Transport Paramedics?

Have you ever suffered from workplace injuries before? Maybe you’ve experienced knee pain or incessant back pain as a result of your work in the air ambulance industry. When you’re an air ambulance transport paramedic, you are exposed to work conditions that could result in certain injuries. This post is going to discuss the causes of those injuries.

Certain Body Motions can Cause Injury

Body motion injuries are easily one of the most common injuries among EMS personnel. Paramedics often have to sit in awkward postures for extended periods of time. Sometimes they have to put in excessive physical effort in moving or lifting patients. They even have to go through repetitive movement, which could all result in an injury. In many cases, the body motion injuries may occur while air ambulance paramedics are in the middle of lifting or moving  a patient that is overweight or obese.

Accidental Exposure to Harmful Substances

When you’re working as an air ambulance transport paramedic, you often have to work around harmful substances. For instance, the respiratory secretions or the blood of certain patients may be harmful. And EMS personnel can get exposed to these substances through needlesticks, spitting, or coughing. So in addition to wearing gloves, it’s crucial that you wear protective masks or face shields to prevent exposure.

Air Ambulance Transport Paramedics can Slip, Trip, or Fall

Due to the physically challenging nature of their work, air ambulance paramedics can easily get injured when they slip, trip, or fall. They could experience these accidents while boarding or getting off their air ambulance helicopter. They could also slip on wet surfaces at the scene of accidents. And it’s even riskier to experience these accidents when you’re in the middle of lifting or carrying a patient or even your equipment.

More Hypothermia Info for Medical Air Transport Paramedics

In the previous post, we talked about the causes and symptoms of hypothermia. But that’s not enough information to help medical air transport paramedics in dealing with patients who suffer from hypothermia. In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at some other important facts about the condition.

How Hypothermia Impacts People

The worst thing about hypothermia is that it can affect every single organ in the body. In the case of mild hypothermia, a patient may experience confusion, amnesia, slurred speech, and impaired judgment. As the condition worsens, a patient that was once lethargic may become comatose and their reflexes may disappear. The central nervous system also becomes unable to regulate the cardiovascular system.

Need for Medical Air Transport Paramedics to be Aware of Special Populations

What’s important for medical air transport paramedics to remember is that there are certain age groups and types of people that are more vulnerable to hypothermia. Interestingly, patients who are either extremely old or extremely young tend to be the most vulnerable age groups. Both of these age groups have less physiologic reserve in addition to a decreased ability to produce heat when needed.

Some elderly patients may be unable to sense ambient temperature, leaving them unable to protect themselves from the cold. So during winters, you may notice that some older patients can become hypothermic even just from staying inside a house that’s slightly too cold for them. Since they have decreased compensatory ability, hypothermia may develop even when the temperature doesn’t seem too cold to you.

In case of neonatal patients, they have almost zero ability to defend themselves against the cold. That is the reason why warming plays such a crucial role in resuscitating patients who fall under this category. Infants that are five days old or more may be able to metabolically compensate, but they are still extremely prone to heat loss.