24 Apr Essex & Herts Air Ambulance paramedics open up about their job!
Because Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) attends only the most critically ill or injured patients, most former patients remember little if anything of the treatment they received from the Charity’s Critical Care Team.
That’s where Adam Carr and Tony Stone come in. As well as being Critical Care Paramedics who are tasked to attend incidents, for the last two years they have been EHAAT’s Patient Liaison Managers (PLMs).
The PLMs assist patients with their recovery by guiding them towards appropriate and to help them understand what happened after someone dialled 999. They also provide support for the families of patients who are still in the Intensive Therapy Unit, and to bereaved relatives.
Tony Stone explains: “We signpost people to support organisations like Headway, Spinal Injuries Association, Road Safety Trust, Victim Support, Limbless Association, Changing Faces and Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Adults. All these different organisations can support people after an incident.”
Adam Carr says they help by filling in the gaps for people who have had `the worst day of their life’.
“Most can’t remember that day, or the days leading up to that. That could be because of the incident or it could be because of the drugs and interventions we’ve performed that have taken away their memory.
“They ask questions that people wouldn’t think of. It may be something really small but that small thing builds up and up and becomes really important to them.”
Tony believes any help the pair can provide is worth it: “If we can make their journey and their recovery even one per cent better then that’s a success.”
As well as helping patients, a visit from Tony or Adam can provide valuable feedback which helps ensure EHAAT’s Critical Care Team can make sure future care for patients is as good as it can be.
Adam says: “Even if they’re really complimentary about what we did, they can maybe direct us as to how we can be better.”
Tony and Adam often visit people at home or in hospital, but they also organise visits for patients to either of the Charity’s Airbases, which can help both patients and the clinical staff who treated them.
Adam explains: “Someone who had terrible traumatic injuries may come back and see you. Even if they’re not fully recovered, they’re still alive because of our service. It reboots why you do the job, why you dedicate your life to this.
“Knowing that my contact with previous patients, their families and loved ones has a direct impact on their recovery is one of the best things about my job.”
Tony agrees that the visits can be just as important for the team: “Patients always come along with their families and they want to say thank you. Actually I think the crew say thank you as well.
“I absolutely love being able to give the families some support in their recovery phase, when they just don’t know who to turn to. As well as being an ear, being able to post them in the right direction is absolutely brilliant.”
On May 12th North Weald Airfield, home to one of the EHAAT’s Airbases will be the venue for the Charity’s Family Fun Day at the finish of its annual Motorcycle Run from Welwyn. Free to attend, the day will include live music, refreshments, children’s rides and a motorcycle stunt show. Sunday 9th June is the date of EHAAT’s `Heli Hounds’ dog walk and show at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire. Details of these and other ways to support the Charity can be found at ehaat.org