Sunday, March 18, 2007

Good Care Home

Yes you have read the title correctly. I know there aren't many of them about, but there is one on my patch that really is very good, and the staff care a lot.

It's a care home for people with learning difficulties, who usually have other chronic conditions as well. Usually when we get called there, our patient is genuinely quite ill, so we don't mind getting the odd call there for an over-reaction because they are far outweighed by the number of genuine calls.

FRED gave me the call. It was to a 57 year old lady who was confused, not alert and complaining of a headache. When I arrived, I was met at the door by the carer (who was waiting for me - usually at care homes, you have to ring the bell two or three times, and finally someone will come ambling up to the door) who told me that Sue had fallen on her way back to her room from the toilet, and since then had been complaining of a headache and was quite confused. She was also scared of ambulances. I had a bargaining tool to get her to let me assess her - I'd come in a car, not an ambulance!

I walked into the room, and found Sue laying in bed. I went up and spoke to her. She took one look at me, and buried herself under the duvet.
"I don't want an ambulance," came a voice from under the duvet.
Time to play my card. "I've not come in an ambulance. I've come in a car because your carer's worried about you."
She poked her face out from under the duvet. "It's ok, I just want to have a look at you and make sure you're ok."
"I'm alright." Under the duvet again.
"Let me have a look, you might not need to go to hospital. Can I take your pulse?"
An arm appeared. I took her pulse, and with a little more gentle persuasion, I managed to get her to come out from under the duvet and let me take some obs.
"Am I alright doctor?" asked Sue when I'd finished.
Then the crew arrived.

I explained what I knew, and that Sue was frightened of ambulances. Mary, the EMT on the ambulance squatted down to talk to Sue.
"Shall we take you to hospital Sue?" Sue disappeared under the duvet again.
"No, I want to go to sleep. My bed's nice and warm."
As Mary did some gentle persuasion of her own, one of the carers came in with Sue's file. She gave us a full history, adding to what had already been told to us by the other staff. It makes a nice change to have care staff who actually know about the people they're caring for.

We eventually managed to persuade Sue to let us take her to "see the doctor", and when I said goodbye, Sue became grumpy. "I want you to stay with me," she said sulkily.
"I've got to go and see some more people who aren't well. Mary will stay in the back of the ambulance with you."

I left Sue sulking in the ambulance. I'd thoroughly enjoyed that call. Sue hadn't been particularly ill, but she was a joy to deal with. I could go to Sue's all day.

All Change - again!

It's been confirmed now that I'm moving back to my old ambulance station, to work with my old crewmate. My current station is great, and I get on well with my current crewmate, but I'd made it no secret that I would prefer to work at my old station.

Someone on my old station wanted to come and work at my current station, so the DSO who deals with the internal line shuffles rang me and asked me if I still wanted to go back.

So no longer should I have shifts with obervers where we only do two the station I'm going back to, we're often out from start of shift (sometimes before if we take an early job) and get back after the end. And I get to hurl abuse at my ex-old crewmate.

It also means that I have already worked my last shift with my current crewmate, because I'm working on the car until the end of April. It's been a pleasure to work with him, and I wish him all the best with his new crewmate and his new baby.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I've Decided

I'm going with the suggestion that I just call myself Steve. It means I don't have to keep looking through the e-mail lists to see if anyone's got the same name as I'm thinking of using.

I'm writing this in my rest break at work. I've not written much lately, frankly because I feel so demoralised at the moment. I maintain this is the best job in the world, but I'm finding the rate of change in the working practices, rest breaks and the way calls are being dispatched simply overwhelming.

I never realised what a difference my £5 per day meals subs made until the new rest break system was brought we only get £10 if we don't get a break and don't get to leave early, or if your break is interrupted. As a result, I'm skint. I've had to cut right back on some spending (buying all the really cheap crap at the supermarket etc), and even then, it's becoming a struggle. I can't remember the last time we could afford to go out for a meal.

Tom points out that EMTs are paid between £7 and £10 per hour depending on whether your qualified or not. Thinking back, I used to get paid £6 per hour just for driving a bus in a rural county - not exactly stressful - apart from the school buses! And Mr Brown wants to cap our pay rises to less than inflation.

Happy days.....