More Hypothermia Info for Medical Air Transport Paramedics

In the previous post, we talked about the causes and symptoms of hypothermia. But that’s not enough information to help medical air transport paramedics in dealing with patients who suffer from hypothermia. In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at some other important facts about the condition.

How Hypothermia Impacts People

The worst thing about hypothermia is that it can affect every single organ in the body. In the case of mild hypothermia, a patient may experience confusion, amnesia, slurred speech, and impaired judgment. As the condition worsens, a patient that was once lethargic may become comatose and their reflexes may disappear. The central nervous system also becomes unable to regulate the cardiovascular system.

Need for Medical Air Transport Paramedics to be Aware of Special Populations

What’s important for medical air transport paramedics to remember is that there are certain age groups and types of people that are more vulnerable to hypothermia. Interestingly, patients who are either extremely old or extremely young tend to be the most vulnerable age groups. Both of these age groups have less physiologic reserve in addition to a decreased ability to produce heat when needed.

Some elderly patients may be unable to sense ambient temperature, leaving them unable to protect themselves from the cold. So during winters, you may notice that some older patients can become hypothermic even just from staying inside a house that’s slightly too cold for them. Since they have decreased compensatory ability, hypothermia may develop even when the temperature doesn’t seem too cold to you.

In case of neonatal patients, they have almost zero ability to defend themselves against the cold. That is the reason why warming plays such a crucial role in resuscitating patients who fall under this category. Infants that are five days old or more may be able to metabolically compensate, but they are still extremely prone to heat loss.

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.

Are You a Medical Flight Paramedic with Knee Pain?

If you’re working as an air ambulance paramedic, you have to carry out physically straining tasks occasionally. Combined this with a more pedantic lifestyle when you’re off-duty or not on call, you could end up with different types of muscle pains and physical strain. One of the most common types of pains that medical flight paramedics can encounter is knee pain.

Find Out What Causes the Knee Pain

The first thing you need to do when you’re suffering from knee pain is to identify what is the root cause. If it wasn’t caused by physical trauma to the knee area, there’s a good chance you can prevent the issue from reoccurring. It’s easy to get pain in the knee due to a slight mistake in movement while stepping or climbing or even squatting.

In some cases, even if the pain is occurring in your knee the main cause of the problem may be at a completely different part of the body. So it’s important to get to the root of the issue if medical flight paramedics want to gain long-term relief from knee pain.

Knee Pain Solutions for Medical Flight Paramedics

Try stretching your legs by putting them on the table with your knee facing downwards. Your knee should be in line with your hip joint. If you can do this, it means everything is okay with the functionality of your glutes. The stretch might even help in relieving the pain on your knees to some extent.

You should invest in a good foam roller that you can use for 10 minutes every day. Use it on every part of your joints and muscles that are prone to pain such as your inner thigh, calves, hamstrings, and glutes. This not only decreases the pain but also loosens up the muscles to prevent further strain.

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.

Maintaining a Clean Uniform for Air Ambulance Transport Paramedics

When you’re working as a paramedic – whether it’s for an air ambulance transport or a ground ambulance – you’ll be given a set of uniforms to wear every day. This uniform commands some level of respect but at the same time, you need to maintain it properly and keep it clean so as to ensure that you continue to look professional.  But this can be tricky considering your demanding work environment and all the elements that could dirty up your uniform.

So if it’s challenging to prevent dust, dirt, and fluids from patients to mess up your uniform, the only thing you can do is to clean up efficiently. Some of the elements may be a bit more difficult to clean so in this post you’re going to learn how to effectively clean up different kinds of stains on your uniform.

Removing Common Stains from an Air Ambulance Transport Paramedic’s Uniform

If you’re an air ambulance transport paramedic, here are some of the most common types of stains you might have to get on your uniform and how to remove them:

  • Blood stains – Blood stains in uniforms are common especially since you’ll have to deal with plenty of patients who have undergone physical injuries after an accident. You need to start cleaning up the stain as soon as possible after you get off duty instead of letting it wait with your pile of dirty laundry. Try to blot the stain using a wet cloth or sponge before you wash the entire uniform. You can also soak the stained part in white vinegar for about 10 minutes before you wash it.
  • Vomit stains – Rinse the stain with cold water after you’ve removed as much vomit as possible. You can then soak the stain in a mixture of warm water and half a teaspoon of liquid detergent to which you add a tablespoon of ammonia.
  • Sweat stains – Sweat stains can ruin your uniform as they can turn yellow if left unwashed for too long. To clean it up, wash it with water and a cup of vinegar. After that, mix half a cup of baking soda, one tablespoon of salt, and one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to the water.

Air Ambulance and Medical Flight Transport Services: Everything you need to know!