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.


Blogger Iain MacBain - or maybe not!!?? said...

You know your right. I hadn't thought about it but the people who care for the disabled do seem to care. I guess I'm just use to the neglect shown to the elderly and don't expect anything else.

Thanks for the reminder, it's always good to see that humanity isn't totally fu****.

9:19 pm  
Blogger Otana said...

Poor Sue, you handled that very well. And it is a joy to hear of a good care home for once; with all the non-care homes mentioned in all the ambulance blogs around here, I was beginning to despair.

7:35 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly Steve, there is lovely residential homes for the elderly!! I have worked in one for the last 6 years, and love my job! We do care, my husband works in residential home for learning disabilities,
Take care and keep up with your great work,

9:52 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

I don't doubt that there are some really good residential homes with carers that really do care, but sadly the experience I and any other ambulance person you could ask, is that the good ones are very few and far between.

The way I have seen many elderly residents treated has made sure that if it came to the crunch, I would never put my dad into one.

5:04 am  

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