Emergency healthcare services provide essential medical care to patients aboard in an ambulance that is rerouted to the hospital. They are often regarded as Emergency Medical Services (EMS) or Paramedic Services. EMS provides out-of- hospital medical aid or interim support with definitive care facilities while transporting patients suffering from illness or physical injuries.
EMS has evolved a long way from merely being a transport agent for ailing patients. The primary goal of EMS is to ensure that crucial preliminary medical care for moving patients is dispensed on time. Thus, during health-related emergencies, the present symptoms of the patient are satisfactorily handled during transit before moving them to more sophisticated points of care. This is crucial in life saving situations and for preventing permanent organ damages/impairments.
Today, Ambulance with Medical Facilities are reasonably equipped with healthcare equipment and trained paramedic staff to prevent fatalities. The fundamental medical equipment in ambulances includes stretcher, a first aid kit with antiseptics, sterile wipes, bandages, gloves, syringes and needles, cardiac monitor, oxygen cylinder, basic maternity and burn kits, cold packs and communication devices for interacting with the care points (hospital). Paramedics are professionals who trained in pre-hospital care and cater to the patient’s needs in the ambulance.
Ambulances with dedicated facilities are also available for seniors, pregnant women and children. Specifically, Ambulance services for adults are equipped with state-of-art medical devices to handle any kind of health exigencies and provide optimal stabilization of patients to ensure best outcomes. The levels of care provided may be categorised into
- Basic Life Support (BLS)
- Advanced Life Support (ALS)
- Critical Care Transport (CCT)
The step-wise medical care dispensed to ambulance patients may be enumerated as follows:
- Evaluating the patient’s medical needs: The first and most important step is the evaluation of the medical needs of the sick or injured person. This must be done accurately, efficiently and quickly by the paramedic staff as it could lead to life and death situations. If the concerned patient requires further treatment, he/she is shifted to the ambulance using a stretcher or wheel chair depending upon their physical condition. The ambulance staff ensures that the patient is comfortable, handled cautiously, strapped up correctly and covered by a blanket.
- Monitoring the vital parameters: All the vital parameters of the patient, including consciousness levels, respiratory capabilities, pulse rate, blood pressure and sugar levels are examined. Oxygen masks are provided for patients with breathing difficulties and saline drips may be provided for stabilisation.
- Assessing the patient: The patient is subsequently assessed by the paramedics for nature of treatment required by doing a physical examination and making an appropriate diagnosis. Intermediate medical intervention may be undertaken like monitoring and administering medication, dressing wounds/injuries, doing intravenous infusions and giving pain relief medication.
- Handling specialist care: In events of health crisis, paramedics may resort to usage of emergency equipment like ventilators, defibrillators or procedures like cardiac resurrection and tracheotomy to revive the patients.
- Determining the appropriate healthcare facility or suitable hospital: This is done to ensure further course of treatment is given adequately based on the patient’s condition.
- Documenting a Patient Report: The paramedics make a detailed patient report based on the patient’s symptoms, history of ailments (if any – using previous medical records or getting information from family members), treatment dispensed in the ambulance and diagnosis made. This helps in easy takeover by concerned staff once the patient is shifted to the hospital.
- Briefing the hospital staff and patient handover: On arrival at the hospital, the paramedics safely move the patient from the ambulance to the emergency unit. The physicians are updated on health status and treatment given along with patient reports to ensure the safe handover.