When you’re working as a paramedic, accurate patient assessment is crucial so you can get them the care they need. But this can prove to be a challenge if the patient is deaf or hard of hearing. They may have a hard time understanding what you’re trying to say and may give you inaccurate responses. Find out what you need to do to better assess hard-of-hearing patients as a medical flight paramedic.
Understand the Variations and Changes in Communication Ability
When you’re trying to communicate with hard-of-hearing patients, it’s important to clearly understand that there can be variations in the severity of their hearing condition. There are some people who are unable to hear at all but may be able to speak clearly. At the same time, there are also people who can hear a bit but have difficulty in communicating.
It’s important to understand these variations to adjust your approach accordingly. It’s also crucial to understand how an illness or injury can impact the abilities of hard-of-hearing patients. Even if they’re excellent at lip-reading, the illness or injury may make it more difficult for them to read lips.
What Medical Flight Paramedics can do to Accommodate Hard-Of-Hearing Patients
As a medical flight paramedic, it’s crucial that you adjust the way you speak to patients who are hard of hearing. First of all, it’s important to speak clearly so the patient can understand you. Although you may feel compelled to speak louder or slower, this might not really help at times. You can try slowing down your speed or increasing your volume but with moderation.
Gestures can also help in communicating more effectively with hard-of-hearing patients. This can also work effectively in your communication with patients who have cognitive disabilities or do not speak English. And make the most of facial expressions to convey what you’re saying. For example, you could try raising your eyebrows to indicate a question.
As an air ambulance service provider, you will have to manage several hardworking employees who have to fulfil a demanding job. So naturally, there might be times when they’re disappointed or angry about certain aspects of your organization or their work life. It’s at times like these that your true capability as a service provider is tested.
Listen Carefully to Your Air Ambulance Service Employees
The first thing you have to do when dealing with disgruntled employees is to listen to them. Hear them out instead of getting defensive immediately. Their problem may not even be with you but they do expect you to pay attention the difficulties they’re experiencing. Note down what they’re telling you so you can clearly understand the situation before you say anything.
If there are lots of air ambulance service employees complaining all at once, let them know that you’re there to listen but you can only do so if they go one at a time. Avoid questioning them, correcting them, or clarifying yourself. Dedicate your time to hearing them out first before you can even consider a solution.
Ideally, you should have two people handling the complaints – one to interact with the employees and another to note everything down. The person interacting with the disgruntled employees can also make a note of what everyone’s saying on a whiteboard to keep track of the discussion.
Come up with a Quick Solution
If you truly want to prevent the situation from escalating, try to come up with an effective solution quickly. Preferably, you should be able to provide them with a solution within 24 hours to show them that you care about their issues. Some issues may take more than 24 hours to solve. But even if this is the case, give them an estimated timeline so as to maintain transparency.
When you’re working as a paramedic – whether it’s for an air ambulance transport or a ground ambulance – you’ll be given a set of uniforms to wear every day. This uniform commands some level of respect but at the same time, you need to maintain it properly and keep it clean so as to ensure that you continue to look professional. But this can be tricky considering your demanding work environment and all the elements that could dirty up your uniform.
So if it’s challenging to prevent dust, dirt, and fluids from patients to mess up your uniform, the only thing you can do is to clean up efficiently. Some of the elements may be a bit more difficult to clean so in this post you’re going to learn how to effectively clean up different kinds of stains on your uniform.
Removing Common Stains from an Air Ambulance Transport Paramedic’s Uniform
If you’re an air ambulance transport paramedic, here are some of the most common types of stains you might have to get on your uniform and how to remove them:
- Blood stains – Blood stains in uniforms are common especially since you’ll have to deal with plenty of patients who have undergone physical injuries after an accident. You need to start cleaning up the stain as soon as possible after you get off duty instead of letting it wait with your pile of dirty laundry. Try to blot the stain using a wet cloth or sponge before you wash the entire uniform. You can also soak the stained part in white vinegar for about 10 minutes before you wash it.
- Vomit stains – Rinse the stain with cold water after you’ve removed as much vomit as possible. You can then soak the stain in a mixture of warm water and half a teaspoon of liquid detergent to which you add a tablespoon of ammonia.
- Sweat stains – Sweat stains can ruin your uniform as they can turn yellow if left unwashed for too long. To clean it up, wash it with water and a cup of vinegar. After that, mix half a cup of baking soda, one tablespoon of salt, and one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to the water.
You operate a company or a charity that provides critical medical flight service to residents in your region. While you do your best to ensure that patients get the care they need, there’s a chance you’re neglecting the valued employees working for you. You should take care to pay attention to your flight crew to ensure that they’re not suffering from one of the most common issues among medical care personnel – sleep deprivation.
Detecting Sleep Deprivation Among Crew Members
It’s important to keep a close eye on your crew members to make sure they’re not suffering from excessive fatigue and/or sleep deprivation. This will help you take precautions on time and get them the rest they badly need so they can provide better quality of medical flight service. While it’s not easy to identify whether or not an individual is sleep deprived, try to watch out for these signs to help make the task easier:
- Excessive yawning
- Regular eye-rubbing
- Frequent blinking
- Trouble keeping their eyes open
Well-Rested Crew Members Provide Better Medical Flight Service
If you notice that a certain employee is displaying some of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s time you direct them to a room or area in which they can get their badly-needed rest. It’s crucial that you assign a dedicated room or area in which your staff members can get as much sleep as they need when they’re too burnt out.
Ideally, you should also prepare the room to remove any distractions such as light and sound. Try to install blackout shades and a white noise machine if possible. And make sure there’s a sign outside to show others that one of their friends is getting the rest they so badly need. Ensuring that your crew members get plenty of rest is a great way to maintain an energetic and alert team that’s mentally and physically equipped to provide quality medical care.
Training to become an air ambulance paramedic won’t be all that easy. There are tons of challenges you have to overcome and new skills to pick up. And it’s especially more challenging if you have a job to hold down while you’re training to become a medical flight paramedic. Luckily for you, this post will provide you with the basics and best practices that can improve your chances of successfully completing your training.
Smart and Balanced Studying is Crucial
First of all, it’s crucial that you study smartly and in a balanced manner. Your brain needs to be fed consistently with the new information that you wish to retain instead of forcing yourself to remember the information. So instead of cramming right before your exam, it’s best if you consistently study a little bit every week.
It’s important that you thoroughly learn the contents of your medical flight paramedic training textbook. But instead of stressing yourself to remember everything, try to read the textbook with an intention to understand the information. You can also use learning techniques that are considered to be effective such as quizzes, flash cards, etc.
Additionally, you can also prepare yourself to analyze multiple-choice questions and answer them correctly. You may not always be able to recall the answer to every single question. So look through several mock tests to better understand a strategy to identify the correct answer.
Medical Flight Paramedics and the Need for Interpersonal Skills
Your knowledge in paramedics may be crucial to get through your written exams. But if you wish to succeed in the field, you will also need to enhance your interpersonal skills. This is crucial if you wish to avoid miscommunication between you and your patients. And you’ll also need it to make your patients feel more comfortable in your care.
The job of air ambulance paramedics is highly demanding, often involving lifting patients safely and carefully. As a result of this physically demanding job, many paramedics may be at risk of on-the-job injuries. And these injuries can render them unable to work more efficiently, which could negatively impact your productivity. So if you’re an air ambulance service provider that wants to enhance operations and productivity, it’s crucial that you try to prevent workplace injuries as best as possible.
Air Ambulance Paramedics and Injuries
Many on-the-job injuries suffered by air ambulance paramedics occur while they’re lifting or moving their patients. Although paramedics receive sufficient training, some situations and conditions may make it more difficult (and even potentially dangerous) to lift and move patients. For example, the patient may be on the heavier side or the paramedic may not have sufficient bodily strength to lift the patient efficiently.
Additionally, the equipment used for lifting and moving patients can play a huge role in the safety of air ambulance paramedics. In the first two cases mentioned, air ambulance service providers have limited capabilities to control what happens. But you can make sure to provide your paramedics with high-end equipment that will make patient lifting and moving easier and safer.
Lifting and Moving Equipment for Air Ambulance Service Providers
If you want to maintain the safety of your paramedics, you might want to consider investing in the following types of equipment for lifting and moving patients:
- Power loading systems that can do all the heavy lifting and eliminate a major cause of air ambulance paramedic injuries
- Powered cots such as those that use a hydraulic system to make lifting and moving patients easier
- Enhanced stair chairs that make it easier for paramedics to guide patients down the stairs without having to lift them.
Being a paramedic is a physically demanding job especially if you work for an air ambulance. You’ll have to regularly lift and move patients every time you respond to a call. And as a result of this, you’re at high risk of getting injured during this lifting and moving process. So as a medical flight paramedic, you need to take some helpful measures that will prevent these injuries and ensure you efficiently carry out your duties without any issues.
Preparing Your Body to Carry Out Your Medical Flight Paramedic Duties
As mentioned earlier, being a medical flight paramedic is a physically demanding job and involved plenty of activity and heavy lifting. At times, you may even have to perform some strenuous physical activity right after a state of rest. And as a result of this quick transition, your body may become strained and more susceptible to injuries.
That’s why you need to get involved in as many warm-up activities as possible before you respond to a call. You can start warming up at the start of your shift so you’re prepared to take on any physically-demanding task that comes your way. 20-30 minutes of warm-up would be perfect to get your body acquainted to the possible strain it needs to endure for the rest of your shift.
And you should also consider warming up after you’ve been inactive for a while. You can perform static stretching and simple cardiovascular exercises for your warm-up sessions. You can also use tennis balls and foam rollers to help stretch your stiff muscles and prepare it for strenuous physical activities.
In addition to this, you should regularly train to lift heavy objects. This will prepare your body to handle the task of lifting and moving patients of all sizes.
In between patients who’ve been in a serious accident and terminally ill patients who need hospital-to-hospital transportation, medical flight paramedics may occasionally encounter patients who complain of feeling weak and generally ill. While it may be difficult to pinpoint what the issue might be in such cases, it’s important to take thorough assessments to ensure the condition isn’t caused by a life-threatening disease.
Possible Causes of General Illness Medical Flight Paramedics should Look Out for
If you respond to a patient who complains of feeling lethargic in general, try to assess them for the following conditions:
- Sepsis – Sepsis is caused by an infection and can lead to a significant dysfunction of the organs. But when you’re a first responder, you might face some issues as sepsis assessment usually requires lab results.
In a pre-hospital setting, you can still make some assessments that will rule out sepsis. There are three elements you need to look out for and if at least two of them are positive you need to consider that the patient is suffering from sepsis.
These elements are: If the respiratory rate is more than or equal to 22/min, if they have altered mentation with GCS less than or equal to 13, and/or if their systolic blood pressure is less than or equal to 100 mm Hg.
- Systemic inflammatory response syndrome – Medical flight paramedics should also make assessments for SIRS, which fairly easier for them to do than with sepsis. In this case you will look at a few criteria, out of which the patient might have SIRS if at least two of them are true.
The criteria are: if the heart rate is more than 90/min, if the respiratory rate is more than 20/min, if the white cell count is more than 12,000/mm³, if their temperature is higher than 38 degrees Celsius or less than 36 degrees Celsius, and/or if their PaCO2 is less than 32 mm Hg.
Accurately measuring the vitals of your patients is crucial when you’re working as a medical flight paramedic, an EMT, a nurse, or any medical professional for the matter. That means you’ll need to properly monitor and record the patient’s blood pressure. While it may be fairly easy for you, it’s important to remember that there are certain factors that could result in wrong BP readings.
Factors that Often Mislead Medical Flight Paramedics
By understand what could impact the BP reading on your equipment, you will be able to take precautions and make more accurate readings. Here are some of the reasons why your BP monitor could give you inaccurate readings:
- Incorrectly-sized cuffs – If the BP cuff on the monitor is too large, you’ll get readings that are much lower than the actual rate. And in case the cuff is too small, the BP readings will be a lot higher than the correct rate. Make sure the bladder length is 80% and width is 40% of the arm circumference.
- Incorrect positioning of patient’s body – How the patient’s body is positioned will also have a huge impact on the accuracy of your reading. Eliminate any influence of gravity to make sure you get a more accurate reading. The arm or leg you’re using for the reading should be placed at mid-heart level.
In addition to this, you need to make sure the patient isn’t talking while you’re taking the reading. And it would be ideal if you could take the reading when the patient is sitting with their legs uncrossed. In case of unconscious patients, taking a reading may be a bit more challenging for medical flight paramedics. But you can still follow the rules of proper positioning and correct cuff sizes to take accurate BP measurement.
When you’re working as part of a medical flight crew, you will encounter many incidents and a wide variety of patients. And sometimes, you might even come across a patient that’s accompanied by a service animal. You may not know exactly how to handle the situation as you’re not too familiar with it. In this post, you’ll find out a few important tips to follow when you encounter patients with service animals.
What to do When Your Medical Flight Patient has a Service Animal
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, only dogs are considered as service animals. And that’s the first information you should be aware of. But in regards to whether or not you should allow a service dog to accompany your patient in flight, you will also have to remember a few things.
First of all, the ADA requires that businesses, nonprofit organizations, and state and local governments that serve the public should allow service animals in their facilities if they’re accompanying people with disabilities.
If you’re not too certain what kind of service the service dog provides, however, you may only carry out limited inquiries. These two questions are the only ones you’re legally allowed to ask:
- Is the dog a service dog that the patient requires because of a disability?
- What kind of tasks or work has the dog been trained to do?
Medical flight and ground ambulance crews alike cannot ask about what disability the patient has or request medical documentation. They can’t request for a demonstration of the dog’s ability either. And you can only deny transport for the service dog because of the following reasons:
- If your ability to provide lifesaving care will be fundamentally altered by the service dog
- If the service dog isn’t housebroken
- If the dog is out of control and the patient cannot take any effective action to control it