Standing Back

There are times when it is simpler, and better for the patient, to stand back and let the relatives decide the best case of action.
I went to an older woman who had suffered from a stroke some time earlier, she had made as good a recovery as expected and was being looked after in her home by her family and some paid for carers. There was a lot of equipment in the house. Lifts and hoists had been installed, the patient had a modified wheelchair and a specialist bed. The reason why we had been called was because she had developed a chest infection – this can be very serious in someone who is essentially bed-bound and so she needed to go to hospital.

As I walked into the house I sensed a vague negative attitude towards us – it may have been that they were waiting some time for the ambulance (as it was one of our low priority calls), it may have just been that they were rightfully unhappy that their mother needed to go to hospital again. So the atmosphere in the house meant that I would have to handle the family carefully. The family had a lot of experience with their mother, so, where we would normally 'barge in' and take control of the situation I decided that I would discuss the best way to move the patient with them.

At every one of my suggestions I explained the reasoning behind my thinking, and I let the family use their equipment to carefully, and in their own time, move the patient to the hospital.

And the end of the journey the relatives were a lot happier, all because I let them do most of the 'work'.

If there are any spelling/grammar mistakes in the above post – tough. Today is the only time in three weeks I get to see Laura. I hope you understand.

8 thoughts on “Standing Back”

  1. May I be the first (and possibly only) person to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.I know it's a US Holiday, but it's one I fully support. Somehow it has managed to survive the insane commercialism that grips every other American festival from Halloween to Easter. It's really all about getting together with friends and family and just being THANKFUL.

    So, enjoy your time with loved ones and be thankful. I'm sure there are many who are thankful for the contribution that YOU provide every day.

  2. Tom…a lovely little post, hope you have a fab time with Laura!VTEMT Happy Thanksgiving hope you have a great day ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Hi there…. a totally unrelated comment to ur recent post… (fantastic blog though). I was touched the other day by the compassion of a paramedic ? from your complex who gave his boots and a blanket to a genuine “homeless” guy whom he transported to hosp… (as you may have guessed he had no shoes!) Obviously these came in very handy when he was chucked out the hospital later that day, to spend another cold night on the streets! There are other caring and compassionate ambulance crews out there, with cold feet! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Hey Tom, I hope you have a nice time. I emailed you way back in the summer (to which you replied) as I had got onto one of the Paramedic Practice courses, and I thought I'd start my own blog. I'd be interested to know you're thoughts whether good, bad, stop now type things. If you get a chance the address is

    I know that I spelt it wrong, I was having a stupid moment!



  5. Being an SJA volunteer, I can relate to that. But not just in plain clothing, I find that in our Black and White uniform people sometimes act a little hostile. But it is a different matter if were in our Ambulance Green's. Meah ow well, I guess in this situation we can only do our best.

  6. Research has shown it makes little difference as to what colour you wear. It is how you conduct yourself and manage the scene, patients and bystanders that have the greatest effect. If people are going to have a go they will have a go. All you need to do is identify yourself and explain why you are there and what you are doing…and yes I am SJA who regularly wears black and white uniform as well as greens!

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