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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 You Need to Know about Hypothermia When Providing Medical Air Transport

When you’re working as a care provider for medical air transport, you come across different kinds of patients. Although you will most often encounter trauma patients, you might even have to conduct search and rescue missions if you’re based at a remote location. That’s when you might come across patients with accidental hypothermia.

Even in other cases when the patient has an underlying condition, there may be chances of hypothermia occurring. It’s important to carefully understand the condition so you can provide necessary pre-hospital care.

Understanding the Causes of Hypothermia

First of all, you should understand that accidental hypothermia can be of two types – primary and secondary. When the body is exposed to a cold environment for extended periods of time, it can result in primary hypothermia. In other words, this type of hypothermia isn’t caused by an underlying condition.

Secondary hypothermia, on the other hand, can occur when the body’s ability to regulate its heat balance is disrupted or there’s a decreased ability to generate or conserve heat. Burn victims, stroke patients, sepsis patients, etc. may be susceptible to hypothermia. Medical air transport providers should also watch out for hypothermia in patients with hypopituitarism, hypothyroidism, hypoadrenalism, or hypoglycaemia.

Substances like sedatives, alcohol, beta-blockers, antipsychotics, and oral antihyperglycemics can also result in conditions that cause secondary hypothermia. Major trauma, tumours, CNS injuries, and infusion or cold fluids could also be other possible causes.

Identifying Hypothermia Symptoms for Medical Air Transport Care Providers

Although it’s a bit of a challenge to recognize hypothermia, you can look for signs like depressed vital signs, speech difficulty, memory problems, mydriasis, behavioral disturbances, etc. You might also notice that patients with hypothermia may fail to shiver even if they’re obviously cold. Their pulse and respiration may also be a bit more difficult to detect although present.

How Novice Air Medical Transport Paramedics Can Make Great Pre-Hospital Splints

If you work as an air medical transport paramedic, there’s a good chance you will respond to emergencies in which the patient requires a splint. This will usually be in situations where the patient has undergone some form of physical trauma and fracture. You may think you’re already an expert in splinting but there’s always room for improvement.

Tips for Better Splinting in Air Medical Transport Paramedicine

As a novice paramedic, you may still be nervous when you come across actual patients that require a splint. Here are a few tips that will make it easier for you to make great pre-hospital splints:

  • Take your time if the patient is stable – There may be times when you need to splint an extreme fracture when you respond to a call. If the patient’s condition is stable, it’s important that you avoid rushing through the splinting process. Although you may get nervous, there’s no harm in taking a few extra minutes to carefully splint the fracture before taking them for air medical transport.
  • Make the most of pillows – Pillows provide good padding when you need to splint a fracture. They also act as effective splints even on their own. So if your patient has a distal fracture, you just need to roll up the injured part in a pillow and tape it firmly. But make sure the toes or fingers are sticking out.

Opt to control the pain beforehand – Although splinting is intended to reduce pain, the splinting process itself can be very painful. If your patient is screaming in pain it may be difficult for you to concentrate on the splinting and you may end up making a mistake. So try to administer some analgesics beforehand if possible.

Tips for Aspiring Air Ambulance Service Paramedics to Pass Their NREMT

You have seen all the inspirational work done by air ambulance crews. Maybe they helped save the life of someone close to you. Or maybe you’ve read about them and their work warms your heart. Whatever the case may be, you feel compelled to work for an air ambulance service. So you decide that you will become an air ambulance paramedic. But first you will need to complete your training pass your NREMT exam.

Best Practices to Prepare for the NREMT Exam

To qualify for an air ambulance service paramedic, you will need to have proper certifications and pass the NREMT (National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians) exam. Here are a few best practices to get started:

  • First of all, attend your classes regularly and make sure you sit in the front row so you can fully pay attention to lectures.
  • If you have any doubts or anything that you need to clarify, don’t hesitate to speak up and ask questions to your teachers.
  • Go through the textbook whenever you have the chance.
  • Always be prepared with a notebook and a pen or pencil and take notes.
  • At the end of the day, review your lesson for the day to make sure you thoroughly processed the information.
  • Practice your hands-on skills frequently whenever you can so you’re prepared for real life applications.

Other Tips for Aspiring Air Ambulance Service Paramedics

In addition to these tips, aspiring air ambulance paramedics should also follow these extra tips to improve their chances of success at the NREMT exam:

  • Look for seminars organized by the academic support center of your school and see if there are any you can attend to improve your knowledge.
  • Look for apps to help you with your studying and organization.
  • Take a lot of practice tests so you’re fully prepared to take the actual test.

More Patient Statements Medical Flight Paramedics Should Be Concerned about

Last week, we discussed three common patient statements that should have you concerned. But those are not the only statements that you should be concerned about while you’re serving as a medical flight paramedic. There may be several other statements that sound simple enough but should be taken very seriously so that they don’t result in bigger problems.

When Medical Flight Paramedics Should be Concerned

Here are some more patient statements that you should be wary of and take seriously instead of just dismissing them:

  • When a patient doesn’t want to go to a specific hospital – Every now and then you might come across a patient who does not want to be taken to a certain hospital and tells you so. There may be a good reason for this based on their past experiences. In some cases, it may be because they are dissatisfied with the level of care provided.

    But in other cases, it may also be because the hospital has records or knowledge of the patient’s medical history, which the patient has been hiding from you. So make sure you ask the reason why they don’t want to go to a specific hospital.

  • When a patient is dismissing their problem for a minor one – It’s important to pay close attention when a patient tries to dismiss the pain or problem they’re experiencing as a result of a minor issue. For example, the patient may explain that the discomfort in their chest is probably because of indigestion.

    There’s a chance that the patient is in denial and is ignoring the signs of a major health issue. In this instance, it could be a sign of an oncoming heart attack. The patient may be looking to reassure themselves that it’s nothing serious. So it’s important for medical flight paramedics to assess patients more carefully when they’re dismissing their problem for a minor one.

Why Medical Flight Paramedics Should Be Concerned about These Patient Statements

When you’re working as a medical flight paramedic, you might have come across certain statements that make you pay extra attention to the patient. This is likely because you’ve encountered a patient whose condition immediately deteriorated after saying something similar. It may also be because your colleagues have had an experience with such patients.

These experiences may be able to teach you valuable lessons. Even the most subtle phrases and statements could be followed by horrible outcomes.

Statements of Concern for Medical Flight Paramedics

Take a look at some of these patient statements that should get you concerned:

  • When a patient has “the worst headache of their life” – When someone is used to getting headaches, they’ll be familiar with the severity and duration of their typical headaches. So when a patient is claiming that their headache is far worse than usual, it’s a cause for concern for paramedics.

    Otherwise, it could also be a statement by someone who normally doesn’t have a headache. Even if that’s the case, it could be that they’re experiencing something new and would be a cause for concern for medical flight

  • When a patient “feels like they’re going to die” – While there may be instances where someone is being a bit dramatic when they say something like this, it’s always best not to take such statements for granted. Often injured or seriously ill people have some sense that they are going to decompensate, so it’s crucial that you pay attention and take immediate action.
  • When a patient’s shoulder is hurting – Pain in the shoulder may be popularly used to describe chest pain and abdominal issues. The pain can be caused by heart conditions or respiratory ailments such as pneumonia and pleurisy. It could also be caused by illness or injury in the liver, gallbladder, spleen, etc.

What Medical Flight Paramedics Need to Know about Assessing Hard-of-Hearing Patients

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.

How Air Ambulance Service Providers can Deal with Disgruntled Employees

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.

Tips on Successfully Completing Your Medical Flight Paramedic Training

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.