Last post I mentioned how we seem to be throwing resources at the 'non-emergency' side of our work, sometimes though it does work out in the patient's best interest.
Take Mavis for example, she gets a bit wobbly on her feet sometimes and had a fall – she picked herself up and got back into bed. When the first carer of the day arrived she found blood everywhere and Mavis with an inch long cut to the back of her head.
The carer called us and as soon as we arrived disappeared out the door.
Chatting with Mavis it was obvious that she didn't want to go to hospital, she'd lived in this flat all her life and didn't trust hospitals, or doctors. Fair enough really, they aren't my favourite places either.
So we called out our ECP, 'Emergency Care Practitioner' – a Paramedic who has been taught a few more things like how to close wounds or how to diagnose urinary infections. He turned up and after chatting with Mavis for a while started to clean the wound and glue it shut.
As Mavis is fairly mobile there was blood all over her flat, and when the cleaning carer arrived she sucked her teeth, said, “I don't do blood”, and disappeared sharpish.
So while our ECP friend was washing Mavis' hair, I went around the flat with a damp cloth cleaning the blood while my crewmate pointed out the bits that I missed (we work well together like that).
With the wound cleaned and treated we left Mavis a very happy customer in her own home. Our ECP returned a few hours later to check up on Mavis, and she was still healthy and still happy with the treatment we gave her.
It is nice when we can avoid taking vulnerable people into hospital – it's a place full of nasty communicable diseases. And yes, I am fully aware that I may be contradicting what I wrote about in my last post – that we perhaps shouldn't be this overly accommodating to patients. But I just think that it highlights just how much this job, and healthcare in particular isn't so black and white sometimes.
The difference of course is that Mavis would have normally needed treatment in an A&E department, while the sore throat or verruca patient can normally survive without a trip to the hospital.