You underwent extensive training to become an EMS provider. And now you’re working in an air ambulance as part of the medical flight crew. You already know that patient assessment is one of the first and most critical steps you should take before you even begin your treatment. But there’s still a chance you could make mistakes. In this post, you’ll learn some useful tips to help you make more accurate assessments.
Useful Patient Assessment Tips for Medical Flight Paramedics
Here are some simple and critical steps you should take when assessing your patients:
- Make sure the thermometer has the right temperature – Most of the equipment you use in the air ambulance may function perfectly well under any kind of temperature. But in the case of your thermometer, it’s crucial that you check to make sure it has the right temperature. If the thermometer is too cold, you may be unable to read the patient’s temperature accurately.
Ideally, you should be using your thermometer at a temperature between 60-degree and 104-degree F. But there may be times when the temperature inside your medical flight helicopter is much lower than those ideal temperatures. Try to keep the thermometer and other crucial equipment at storage temperature range before using them for patient assessment.
- Avoid using pain scale to compare patients’ pain – The pain scale can be quite subjective. So make sure you avoid using it to compare the pain your patients are suffering. Instead, the pain scale should be use as a basis to determine any changes in the patient’s pain after a certain treatment or movement.
These are two crucial points to consider when assessing your medical flight patients. There may be several other things to consider in addition to these, depending on your role and the equipment you use.
When you’re part of an air ambulance transport crew, experiencing fatigue is next to impossible. In a previous post, we discussed some of the basic methods of reducing the impact of fatigue. While those steps are important, you can also further improve your health if you can prevent fatigue altogether. Although it’s not completely avoidable, there are still several steps you can take to prevent fatigue to a significant extent.
Ideas to Prevent Fatigue for Air Ambulance Transport Crew Members
So how exactly can you prevent fatigue? Although fatigue isn’t preventable at all times, you can still perform some basic steps and prevent it to a significant extent. Here are some ideas to help you out:
Being in the medical flight industry is stressful. And it’s particularly stressful when you’re just starting out as a paramedic in the field. Sure you’ve gone through thorough training and certification but when it comes to dealing with real-life patients, you get cold feet. It’s not because you don’t know what to do but more because you’re afraid of doing something wrong.
Being anxious about treating your patients is only natural. But it gets troubling when your anxiety prevents you from fulfilling your duties. So you’ll need to develop more confidence to provide correct and effective pre-hospital care.
How to Build Confidence as a Medical Flight Paramedic
So how exactly will you build confidence to do your job more effectively? Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Don’t forget the basics – Every medical scenario has a basic set of rules paramedics need to follow when assessing their patients and administering care. In your nervousness you may be prepared for the worst and your mind may be muddled with complicated steps and ideas. But instead of this, you need to focus on remembering the ABCs – the basic steps you should carry out for each scenario.
- Don’t focus on yourself – Of course your first few calls as a medical flight paramedic may make you reconsider your skills and competence. And an inner reflection of this may overwhelm you and only increase your nervousness about carrying out the task at hand. But you need to remember that this isn’t about you but about the patient.
Your focus should be only on the patient and what you can do to help them in each instance. What’s going on with them? What’s the possible reason for this issue? And what can you do to relieve some of the symptoms they’re displaying right now. Once you think of this, your mind will focus on taking action instead of just reflecting on your own abilities.
Your dream is to become an air ambulance paramedic and save lives as best as you can. But the problem is that you just don’t have the time or opportunity to pursue this dream. That’s where online paramedic degree programs enter the picture. If you’re looking for a chance to fulfill your dream of becoming a medical flight paramedic, this could be the answer.
Benefiting From Online Medical Flight Paramedic Programs
When it comes to something as complicated and hands-on as paramedicine, you may be wondering how an online training course will give you the necessary knowledge. But it’s important to know that paramedic training requires both hands-on experience and book learning.
While an online training course may not be able to sufficiently provide hands-on training, it provides you with essential theoretical learning, which makes up a large part of paramedic training. And many online courses may also offer several opportunities for in-field training as well. So for someone who doesn’t have the time to dedicate to a full-time medical flight paramedicine training, online courses are an excellent option.
You can learn through video lectures, reading assignments, and quizzes. You’ll also have full access to training material at any time of the day. So this makes for a flexible learning schedule. Online paramedic training programs are an excellent choice if you have family to look after or previous work commitments that prevent you from taking up an in-class training program.
Schools Providing Online Paramedic Training Programs
If you’re interested to go for an online paramedic training program, you can check out some of the following schools:
In an earlier post, we talked about how air ambulance workers can achieve better physical and mental health through yoga. Now we’re going to talk about a common problem that many medical flight crew members face – neck pain. When you’re working in an air ambulance, you have to limited space to work in. And you have to sit in a confined space for long periods of time. This is likely to cause neck pain, which can be stressful and unbearable.
Home Remedies for Neck Pain
Severe neck pain usually needs treatment by a medical professional. But in case of mild yet constant neck pain, you can try using some home remedies to relieve it. During the first few days, you’ll need to apply ice on the area affected. And then follow that up with heat application. You can either use a heating pad or a hot compress or even take a hot shower.
Even if you can’t take a few days off from your medical flight duty, try avoiding strenuous activities that could aggravate the symptoms. When you have the chance, try exercising your neck with slow stretches. You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers that normally work for you.
Preventing Neck Pain in Medical Flight Workers
Once your neck pain is healed, the best thing to do is to follow methods to prevent the pain from resurfacing. This would include using good posture and frequently changing your position. However, it might be difficult to move around while you’re in an air ambulance. If you have to sit still mid-flight, try doing some neck exercises as mentioned earlier.
In other words, you need to avoid straining your neck muscles too much. You should also try strengthening your muscles through regular exercise.
As a crewmember in an air ambulance, you may face several health issues due to stress or physical strain. Among these issues, back pain is easily one of the most common problem medical flight crewmembers experience. You have to operate in a cramped space for long periods of time with no room or option for proper movement. But the good news is that there are a few ways you can tackle this problem.
Preventing and Reducing Back Pain for Medical Flight Crews
Oftentimes, people in your profession will experience back pain even without any physical injury. But with timely measures, you can reduce the pain and even prevent further issues from occurring. Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Apply ice – It’s common knowledge that ice can help relieve certain types of pain. Ice has no side effects and relieves inflammation at the same time. And you might instinctively use it when you come across patients with those issues. But it’s quite common to forget that this treatment can apply to you as well.
When you experience back pain, try applying ice for somewhere around 10-15 minutes on the area that’s affected. You can also combine this treatment with an over-the-counter pain relief medicine. If the pain doesn’t go away, try reapplying more ice every couple of hours until you feel better.
- Strengthen your muscles – The first tip talks about pain relief. But since you’re in the medical flight industry, you should also prepare yourself for future issues as well. Make an effort to prevent more back pain by strengthening your lower back muscles. Try practicing strength and stability exercises two days a week. Deadlifts and glute bridges are some of the exercises you can try.
Working as a medical flight paramedic can leave you feeling exhausted – both mentally and physically. You work odd hours and may even have to respond to emergency situations at all hours of the day. Plus, working close to critically ill and injured people can take a toll on your emotional wellbeing. The good news is that you can start using yoga to attain better physical and mental health.
Why Yoga is Beneficial for Medical Flight Paramedics
Not sure how exactly yoga can benefit you for your work? Take a look at some of the reasons why yoga is such an excellent choice for paramedics and healthcare providers alike:
- Simplicity – You don’t have to go through complicated procedures to do yoga effectively. Just a few minutes of tactical breath work can improve your nervous system. You can prepare for your next mission just by taking a deep breath and directing it towards your belly.
- Stress relief – Yoga is one of the most effective exercise choices for relieving stress. Certain physical postures are designed to help remove stress from the mind. Just a few minutes of it can help you regain your focus and get rid of all the static.
- Mental stability – In addition to relieving stress, yoga can help you attain a more stable mind. This is crucial when you’re working as a medical flight because you need to have the mental capacity to handle all the pressure and urgency you’re going to experience.
All in all, yoga helps in building a stronger mind and body. It can help you cope better and efficiently fulfill your role as a medical care provider. Your patients need you to be strong for them. They need you to maintain your focus to be able to provide them with crucial medical care during emergencies. So you might want to consider taking up yoga.
As a medical flight paramedic, there’s always a chance that you’ll encounter patients with different kinds of illnesses no matter how rare. One of those diseases is acute flaccid myelitis, which affects the nervous system and is related to polio. This post will give you a fair idea about this illness and how you can determine whether or not patients are afflicted with it.
A Little About Acute Flaccid Myelitis
AFM or acute flaccid myelitis affects the nervous system and is especially concerning for the spinal cord. The disease can be caused by a number of things such as viral infections. Some characteristics of AFM are sudden weakness in the arm or leg, loss of muscle tone, and weaker reflexes. Patients may not necessarily experience numbness but pain in the arm or leg may be present.
AFM can also result in dysfunctional nerves around the head and neck. It can also make swallowing difficult and the eyes droop while the limbs become weak.
How to Detect AFM for Medical Flight Paramedics
The symptoms of AFM are usually similar to the symptoms of certain viral infections such as adenoviruses, poliovirus, West Nile virus, and non-polio enteroviruses. As mentioned earlier, numbness or tingling isn’t a common symptom. But patients may experience pain in the legs or arms.
Medical flight paramedics should also be concerned if a patient has difficulty urinating. In the most severe cases, AFM may also cause respiratory failure. This occurs when the disease affects muscles that help with breathing.
Acute flaccid myelitis is concerning because it mostly affects children as opposed to adults and there is no specific cure for it. Certain interventions based on the case may be recommended by doctors specializing in illnesses of the brain and spinal cord.
Until now, ground ambulance and medical flight paramedics alike did not have a specific guideline to follow when treating patients with syncope. Syncope, otherwise known as fainting, happens when there’s a lack of blood supply and the blood pressure drops to deprive the brain of oxygen. And now the American College of Cardiology has released a guideline to help you understand the best course of action to take when encountering such patients.
What to do When You Encounter a Medical Flight Patient with Syncope
When you respond to a situation in which a patient has fainted, here’s what you need to do:
- It’s crucial that your initial evaluation includes a detailed physical examination and medical history. This will help you identify whether there are any possible underlying conditions that could result in the fainting.
- Fainting usually occurs while standing when there’s a drop in blood pressure, as this reduces oxygen supply to the brain. In most cases, the condition may not be life-threatening. So you should do your best to try and ease the worries of your patients.
- If your medical flight carries a portable ECG, it’s best that you use it during your evaluation. This will help you determine if there’s any abnormality that requires treatment.
- During your evaluation, if you find out that the patient has a serious medical condition that possibly caused the fainting, it’s crucial that they are transported to a hospital immediately. This holds true even if the patient seems to be recovering fine from the fainting.
- You can rule out the need for unnecessary evaluations such as routine lab testing and routine cardiac imaging such as CT scan or MRI unless you suspect the patient has a cardiac issue. There’s also no need for carotid artery or head imaging unless you need to perform a further evaluation.
These are some of the important guidelines to follow when encountering patients with syncope. Watch out for the next post to find out more.
When you’re operating an air ambulance, cleaning and disinfection of the aircraft would be a crucial part of your maintenance process. This decontamination process is essential for protecting both your air ambulance crew and your patients. So you might want to improve how you decontaminate your air ambulance transport vehicles to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
Checklist for Decontaminating Air Ambulance Transport Vehicles
Air ambulance decontamination needs to be thorough so as to reduce the risk of infections and diseases. Here are some of the basic steps you need to take:
- Use the right equipment – Decontamination of air ambulance vehicles can be time-consuming and complicated. So you’ll need to use a disinfecting equipment to ensure that the process is done more effectively and efficiently. Before you invest in one, make sure you choose equipment that’s easy to operate so you don’t have to spend more time in training your staff.
You should also consider the cost per use and evaluate the cost of all replacement parts and consumable supplies. It’s crucial that you evaluate various other aspects such as how effectively it eliminates pathogens, how quick the turnaround time is, and whether it has any limitations or shortcomings.
- Promote the use of new PPE – Advise your staff members not to wear the same PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) while decontaminating the air ambulance as they did when they were in contact with the patient. This could re-contaminate the areas they’re trying to clean, resulting in ineffective decontamination.
- Promote the use of fresh cot linens – After every patient, your air ambulance transport crew needs to change the cot linens. And they should do so after the clean the mattress using a disinfectant. This is because the porous material of cloth linen could allow microbes to infect the cot mattress.