It’s Just a Blanket!

I try not to complain very much, and I think compared to most medics I don’t.  Mind you, that’s not a dig at my fellow caregivers, I just think that we are Type-A personalities who want it all, and we get vocal when we don’t get it.  That said. . .

This winter, I have had a huge pet peeve of mine rekindled.  In all of my years working in Springfield, Massachusetts there was one thing that I always checked when I was putting my truck together at the start of my shift.  It was not the oxygen, it wasn’t my backboards, paperwork, or anything else like that.  The one thing that I always made sure that I had was a sheet or blanket sandwiched into my stair chair, especially in the winter time.  For me, there was no more necessary item to carry into a scene.

I was what one might refer to as “stair chair dependent.”  Many people liked to bring their stretcher to the door and park it there, or leave it on the curb but frankly I did not and still do not like leaving it unattended.  For me it was always easier to carry a stair chair to my patient’s side regardless of their condition so I could have something to use to move my patient to the back doors of the ambulance.  It got used a lot, and there were a lot of butts of varying conditions that saw time on that chair.  For me, the blanket gave me a barrier for my patents to sit on.

In the winter time, it helps keep the patient warm.  In every season it gives you a great way to move your patient if they are not able to get over to your stretcher.  Nothing is easier than scooping a patient up with a sheet and popping them down with a draw sheet.  It is one of the simplest and earliest taught “moves” in the industry.

And let’s not lose sight of the “don’t reach out” factor.  We all give that speech to our patients about how important it is for our patients to keep their hands in, don’t grab hand rails doors, or anything else while we chair them out of a house.  Add to that the potential claustrophobia some people have of having their arms strapped in, and you have a situation where a patient could become somewhat uncomfortable.  In my experience, people tolerate having their arms strapped in a lot more easily when they are wrapped in a blanket.  Swaddled, some might say.

So, taking these things into considerations, why should I ever have to send an EMT back out to their truck in 30 degree weather to get a blanket to wrap our patient up in?  No, it does not happen every time, but it happens far too often for my liking.

So do this paramedic and your patients a favor.  When you dig that stair chair, or even that reeve stretcher, out of the truck take an extra second and bring a blanket into the house.  It will make your job easier, and it will make your patient more comfortable.  And most importantly, if I am your medic, you will make my day just a little brighter!

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