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Your typical Lifeline call


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You've started your 0600 shift on a bright sunny Sunday morning, and are now settled down at your post, relaxing and waiting for the first usual 'church' call that eventually will come. However, the day is somewhat different as you fall asleep in the recliner, then wake just as the first NFL game begins. It's about 1300 hours and your enjoying watching your partners team get slaughtered when the tones go off......"EMS Engine 5 and Medic 4, respond Code 3 to (insert address) for a Lifeline call. Wow, first call of the day. Atypical Sunday. Easily getting up from the recliner, you get to your rig and go responding. Enroute to the address, Comm Center advises that the entry to the residence may be hindered as there is a coded lock system to the door. Upon hearing this, I look at my partner driving hot to the call and said, "OOOOOKKKKKKKay, this is going to be interesting". The response is approximately 2 miles, and upon getting to the scene, you see the FD/EMS engine crew getting their first response gear and starting to walk to the residence. The captain is already at the door and is now getting on the radio calling Comm Center (which we overhear/monitor), "AAhh, Comm Center, could you advise first, where is the code pad, and then if we can find it, what is the code......" Now exiting Medic 4, I'm thinking, "Great, I'm going to have to get my lard ass through a window.....this is going to suck!" Whoops, the captain gained entry. OK, go up the sidewalk and enter the house. Upon entering the kitchen area, I see the 3 fire personnel surrounding a patient reclined in a chair, blanket over them, TV blaring (with the same game we were previously watching) and the Captain asking/stating/inquiring....."You can't find your glasses?" I freeze and view the scenario from a small distance. Yup, the patient pressed the Lifeline, because their glasses fell off there head and they couldn't find them to put them back on. Sheesh..... I from across the room ask, "Do you need us?" The Captain smirkingly looks at the patient then us and states, "I don't think so...." He asks the patient, "Do you need the ambulance?", where upon the reply is a resounding "NO, I just need you to put my glasses on my face" (Subnote: the patient is a quad patient) I'm snickering internally now as the FD finds the glasses buried in the blanket and effectively and properly place them on the bridge of the patient's nose. Prior to leaving, I state from across the room to the patient, "Are you sure you don't need the ambulance?" Again a resounding "NO, I just need to see the game!" Exit, stage right...... Leaving the house, I'm giggling as my new partner looks at me, "Do we get a lot of these calls?" I look at him stating, "You bet, this is the first one of this type of complaint in my 30 years of EMS!" He stops, ponders with perplexed look and then starts laughing. Let's see, how am I going to write this one up.........hummmmmmm.........ah, patient had visual disturbances keeping them from seeing football game on TV. Yeah, I am sure administration will like this. Well, back to the rig. The shift was not a total loss, had 3 more calls, all refusals for total of 4 refusals in a row. Ah, the life of EMS.......

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Yes I know this is in the funny section but I have spent many hours getting patients with severe disabilities home and have tried to work with various agencies and professionals to make the transition

OMG! I generally defer from reading topics that do not appeal to me when it gets to the topic itself. In this case, "Lifeline" is something that has no meaning to me since we do not have anything simi

I could have bet my mortgage you would respond to this with a holier-than-thou post. You did not disappoint. Do you require people to avert their gaze when they meet you? Just wondering.

You've started your 0600 shift on a bright sunny Sunday morning, and are now settled down at your post, relaxing and waiting for the first usual 'church' call that eventually will come. However, the day is somewhat different as you fall asleep in the recliner, then wake just as the first NFL game begins. It's about 1300 hours and your enjoying watching your partners team get slaughtered when the tones go off......"EMS Engine 5 and Medic 4, respond Code 3 to (insert address) for a Lifeline call. Wow, first call of the day. Atypical Sunday. Easily getting up from the recliner, you get to your rig and go responding. Enroute to the address, Comm Center advises that the entry to the residence may be hindered as there is a coded lock system to the door. Upon hearing this, I look at my partner driving hot to the call and said, "OOOOOKKKKKKKay, this is going to be interesting". The response is approximately 2 miles, and upon getting to the scene, you see the FD/EMS engine crew getting their first response gear and starting to walk to the residence. The captain is already at the door and is now getting on the radio calling Comm Center (which we overhear/monitor), "AAhh, Comm Center, could you advise first, where is the code pad, and then if we can find it, what is the code......" Now exiting Medic 4, I'm thinking, "Great, I'm going to have to get my lard ass through a window.....this is going to suck!" Whoops, the captain gained entry. OK, go up the sidewalk and enter the house. Upon entering the kitchen area, I see the 3 fire personnel surrounding a patient reclined in a chair, blanket over them, TV blaring (with the same game we were previously watching) and the Captain asking/stating/inquiring....."You can't find your glasses?" I freeze and view the scenario from a small distance. Yup, the patient pressed the Lifeline, because their glasses fell off there head and they couldn't find them to put them back on. Sheesh..... I from across the room ask, "Do you need us?" The Captain smirkingly looks at the patient then us and states, "I don't think so...." He asks the patient, "Do you need the ambulance?", where upon the reply is a resounding "NO, I just need you to put my glasses on my face" (Subnote: the patient is a quad patient) I'm snickering internally now as the FD finds the glasses buried in the blanket and effectively and properly place them on the bridge of the patient's nose. Prior to leaving, I state from across the room to the patient, "Are you sure you don't need the ambulance?" Again a resounding "NO, I just need to see the game!" Exit, stage right...... Leaving the house, I'm giggling as my new partner looks at me, "Do we get a lot of these calls?" I look at him stating, "You bet, this is the first one of this type of complaint in my 30 years of EMS!" He stops, ponders with perplexed look and then starts laughing. Let's see, how am I going to write this one up.........hummmmmmm.........ah, patient had visual disturbances keeping them from seeing football game on TV. Yeah, I am sure administration will like this. Well, back to the rig. The shift was not a total loss, had 3 more calls, all refusals for total of 4 refusals in a row. Ah, the life of EMS.......

Gotta love Lifeline. Vital for some, but in too many cases, it keeps a person who should be in an assisted living facility on their own but using the service- and EMS/Fire as their personal valet. True story- we had a regular who was blind and bed ridden. At least once a week we got a Lifeline call to this patient- for things like getting her a sip of water, bringing her a bag of cookies, and changing the TV channel for her(yeah, I know she was blind). She really was helpless, and we told her she would be safer and more comfortable in a different living arrangement. She steadfastly refused- she wanted to be on her own. Of course, the calls we got were for SOB, chest pain, etc, but the patient denied she said that to the Lifeline people. Of course Lifeline claimed the patient really did say she needed medical attention, but we'll never know the truth. Whatever. This was also a building full of handicapped people of various types- wheelchair bound, blind, deaf, but they were all self sufficient. They even helped our lady until they could no longer take her abuse and insults. They were pushing for her to leave the building- for personal reasons, and the fact that she was completely dependent on others for her care and safety. Of the 15-20 calls we had for her, we only transported one time because she was septic, barely responsive, and could not refuse.

We all felt bad for the patient- even though she was one of the nastiest people I have ever met. She'd throw things, swear, and scream at the top of her lungs to get what she wanted. She was hit by a car a couple years prior which left her blind and a paraplegic, and clearly she was not coping well with her situation.

She had a string of caretakers who were less than reliable, but were also only there during the day, so all night she was a prisoner in her own bed. I tried calling the home health company, but was essentially told that they had a hard time keeping good help. We finally got a social service worker to come out, assess this woman, and to no surprise to us, recommended the patient be placed in an assisted living facility.

Last we heard she was in a nursing home.

Bad situation.

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Gotta love Lifeline. Safer and more comfortable in a different living arrangement....

Agreed. I actually was thinking of social services, but this patient's house was pristine, not a speck of dust. The patient had everything and was being taken care of very well. It was just funny that out of all the Lifeline calls I have had, this was a first. It comes without saying.....every call is different and you will never see it all.

Keep your vision clear..........

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I recall a "Lifeline" call, where the person answering the door, at the correct address and apartment per the dispatch information, denied even having the device in said apartment. On requested callback to the Lifeline operator, who was requested to call back the subscriber, got no answer, but I didn't hear the usual sounds that the home unit makes when called back by the Lifeline operator.

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It is not always a matter of "coping" but rather results of a traumatic brain injury that can bring about a personality change. Many family members are often shocked or ashamed of their loved one's different behavior when they do start responding after a traumatic injury. Some abandon their loved ones to where some of the rehabilitation is affected without their support.

Let's look at this from the perspective of a rehab facility. Having our patients laughed at is one of the fears we do have when we are preparing our patients for as much independence as possible. Unfortunately services like Lifeline are not perfect and instead of notifying their appointed primary care giver, they call 911 only to put our clients through a situation like this. While the patient may seem to take this in stride, the remarks made on scene do affect them and they try to make light of it in spite of their embarrassment. When they gather for more training or group support, I am often saddened to hear how some have been treated especially when they are not always in control of who their Life alert or LifeLine system notifies.

Instead of taking it as a big joke, especially with the new EMS provider, maybe some education and some notes on how the notification system could be improved might be in order. We are always looking for suggestions to work with the various agencies such as Life Line (or whatever in the area) and EMS to make our patients' transition back into some type of independent living successful. Nothing like a bunch of snickering FFs to undo months of work toward building the confidence of someone who must live with a broken body. Do whatever you can to improve the system instead of just complaining or laughing about it at the patient's expense of possibly losing what freedom they do have because of a poor system function. We still have a lot of patients and are getting more each day that would like to have a chance at independence even when severely disabled.

I could have bet my mortgage you would respond to this with a holier-than-thou post.

You did not disappoint.

Do you require people to avert their gaze when they meet you?

Just wondering.

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...in stride, the remarks made on scene do affect them and they try to make light of it in spite of their embarrassment.

Instead of taking it as a big joke, especially with the new EMS provider, maybe some education and some notes on how the notification system could be improved might be in order. Nothing like a bunch of snickering FFs to undo months of work toward building the confidence of someone who must live with a broken body.

Do whatever you can to improve the system instead of just complaining or laughing....

This post was intended to portray that EMS can and will be called for whatever reason, beyond our control. Because of our stressful environment and what we have to deal with, you have to make light of certain situations, or many will become stressed to the point of leaving the business. At no time were derrogatory remarks made around the patient. This patient was not embarrassed and gratefully thanked the FF's for there services, and did remark there was no one else to get ahold of.

By no means was this a 'big joke'. The seriousness of the call was portrayed to the new EMS provider, to have them again realize that we can be called for any type of situation. Our services were not needed, and the humorous point is that I had never had a call with this type of request. The laughing was intent upon how this call would be documented. This was done outside the home nowhere in proximity to the patient or others. It was a private collaberation between my partner and me, and both of us documented the call.

The Comm Center was questioned concerning the information received upon request, which was very limited. The system unfortunately could not have been improved any further and proper managing of the request was provided.

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This post was intended to portray that EMS can and will be called for whatever reason, beyond our control. Because of our stressful environment and what we have to deal with, you have to make light of certain situations, or many will become stressed to the point of leaving the business. At no time were derrogatory remarks made around the patient. This patient was not embarrassed and gratefully thanked the FF's for there services, and did remark there was no one else to get ahold of.

I wish you could attend some of the training sessions we have with our quad patients so you could hear about their "stresses" as well. Unfortunately for them they don't have the option of leaving the business but rather just want to leave life. Some patients do learn the hard way that they must be thankful and express it often for whatever help and attention they get. The mad and unhappy ones will not get that drink of water when they want if if they are thirsty or will get decubitus ulcers. They also will not get their glasses placed on their face to watch TV or their eyes rubbed when they itch or get something in one.

When working in the rehab center I may get as many as 10 STAT calls a shift for everything from misplaced glasses to a dislodged trach and a very apneic patient. I take each one as that patient's own emergency with a little coping education from myself and the other highly trained/educated professionals I work with. Hopefully each "emergency" will better prepare the patient for life on the outside. But, many find out all about the struggle starting from the transport home with a couple of poorly trained/educated EMTs. Thus, we teach our patients to become educators to teach the less educated/trained for their own survival.

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When working in the rehab center I may get as many as 10 STAT calls a shift for everything from misplaced glasses to a dislodged trach and a very apneic patient. I take each one as that patient's own emergency with a little coping education from myself and the other highly trained/educated professionals I work with. Hopefully each "emergency" will better prepare the patient for life on the outside. But, many find out all about the struggle starting from the transport home with a couple of poorly trained/educated EMTs. Thus, we teach our patients to become educators to teach the less educated/trained for their own survival.

I agree... I can't stand crochity providers who grumble about the service call to assist a patient. For me, it is their emergency and if I am ever in that situation where I can't get to bed by myself, I would hope caring individuals would come and assist me and not make fun of me or laugh about me behind my back. I get very angry when people assume an elderly individual can't hear them when in fact many have great hearing and hear the derogatory comments made about them. I am 100% with you on this one vent...

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