Saturday, July 21, 2007

Another Regular

I've mentioned regular callers on here before....but we've started going to one of them more and more recently.

Joe is a lovely old man, but he is becoming a bit of a pain in the proverbial, because he has now had an ambulance every night this week while I have been at work. His list of previous attendances at the hospital shows he has been there every night for the last month.

I've been to him twice this week - two nights running. He always calls for chest pain, but the reality is that he's quite lonely, and just isn't looking after himself properly, wearing the same clothes every day. He doesn't have a carer to help him - he refuses to accept that he needs some help. Instead, he calls us every night to go to hospital, saying he has chest pain. It should annoy both us and the hospital, but for some reason, many staff feel sorry for him.

When we go, we always do the usual things for chest pain patients - but we're more reluctant to "blue" him in, because as soon as we get him to hospital, he gets up and walks around the department, chatting to staff, and getting himself a cup of tea from the machine. He also seems to "forget" his chest pain when he thinks nobody is watching him, only clutching his chest and groaning when he spots us looking.

This shows us that he wants the company more than him having chest pain. So after we've done the 12-lead ECG which invariably shows us he isn't having a heart attack, we trundle in to hospital, where all the staff greet him with "Hello Joe, back again eh?"

Unfortunately, we're at the stage where we're having to start doing something about the number of calls he is making. I discovered the other night when we took him in that this was is fourth visit of the day to A&E. It seems he is being assessed, then after a few hours observation (because he has called for chest pain) he's discharged. The once home, he simply calls another ambulance.

Because of his apparent self-neglect and the continuing calls for the ambulance, I filled out one of our Vulnerable Adult forms for him the other night. This should highlight him to social services who should go and assess Joe and see what help they can give. It should also cause our Patient Advice and liaison service (PALS) to monitor the number of calls we get from him. Doing something about it will be somewhat problematic because he always calls for chest pain, generating a category A response.

Until an alternative form of care can be implemented for Joe, we'll just have to keep going to him, doing the ECG, and taking him to hospital.


Anonymous emsusa said...

It seems they're all over. Nice people who dont realize that their cries of "wolf" are endangering other people's lives. Perhaps its time for him to move into an assisted living facility for his "chronic chest pain."

4:41 am  

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