No folks, I'm not talking about earning airline miles here lol. I mean the same people that call 911 over and over and over again. Just this morning the pager went off and I said to myself, "if i hear that address one more time, i'm gona choke somebody!" lol. Without giving too much imformation here... we have a guy that calls at least twice a week for abdominal px. We get on scene and this guy walks outside and lets himself into the back of the rig, of course once hes there, he never has any pain to complain about. Thats just one of many... I'm sure you all have your own "frequent flyers."
How does everyone deal with the frustration of showing up to these peoples houses over and over again for absolutly no reason at all
well i think everyone has their frequent flyers, We have several, well everyone deals with the frustration differently. The root of my frustration is that they are tying an ambulance that could very well be serving someone truly in need. I just smile and be polite. Next time try thinking about using a larger bore iv lol j.k but its always an amusing thought to toss around. Its just better to bite your tongue and smile, I have noticed most of our frequent flyers are medicaid or medicare, I enjoy allowing them to waste away our tax money for bs runs. Thus is life and a bitching firefighter is normally a happy firefighter! stay safe, hey look at it this way, you are improving your driving skills with every call lol!
Our service does not charge for responding, we dont want people to be worried about the bill and be too worried to call us when they have chest pain. We are a district and any tax payer in our county does not have to worry about the bill. We charge their insurance, but we do not make them pay out of pocket for the transport. Like i said we dont want to turn anyone away from atleast calling, if we dont transport so be it. I realize alot of larger communities are different, its just how we do things. And your right remember the boy who cried wolf? 98% of the time we are their last ride. If you lose one just be ready for another to take their place.
We all have them and it is just another one of those things that we deal with. We have a few of them. The elderly woman who lst her husband a few years back who is just lonely and looks forward to the attention she recieves when we get there to the cronic insect or bee sting patient. I swear she must see spyders and bees in her sleep.
All you can do is keep on going out and maintain a posative attitude. The next time you hear that same old address and decide not to make the run could be the one where they really need you and you could actually make a differance.
In EMS we just treat them like any other pt. Except it's a little different. We usually know them by first name now and all the information that is needed on our reports for the hospital are done without even asking them a thing. Usually they go in about every other day and it's usually for the same thing.
Fire on the other hand. We have a place here that we call the "Million Dollar Horse Barn". We would be going here every week for a fire alarm activation, and it's the same song and dance when we get there. Wait for the owners to come and remove the guard dogs, we have to stay in the truck or we're lunch. This isn't right I know. Then we find out that it's a heat detector in one of the horse stalls that's being set off. Then it's back to the station. From what I have read, this place has been warned several times about the dogs and the alarm, to be fixed. They were, and dogs taken care of and have also been fined by the District (not Department, 2 different people here).
That's about what we get.
It is all a part of the dedication......There is always a negative to a positive,regardless of the vocation in life We choose.As a major city Medic,and having to respond to the "hangnail on the big toe" as well as the multiple GSW, I can tell You.....it can be a "downtime relief" in a 16 hour shift.
But on the flip side of the coin,I can appreciate Your concern,as I volunteer for a rural department which has a few frequent flyers.Use the calls as a practice in Your "bedside manner".....it helped Me greatly in preparation for My career in EMS.Treat them as though it's the first time You have been there,with compassion,and it will help the patient and You at the same time.Always allow the patient their dignity and respect,and it will make You a better EMS provider in the end,believe Me.
On rare occasion, we have worked with our local PD and actually filed criminal charges for abuse and making false reports. For others, we just grin and bear it. One "FF" with over 200 documented calls was finally admitted to a care facility in another town. "Answered prayer"
My personal fave, the 'high-rise' alchie who calls complaining that he thinks he's sick from black mold in his apartment...
Alchie: "It smells terrible in here, do you smell that? I think it's black mold."
Medic #1: "Yes sir, I smell it too, and it's definitely enough to make you sick but I don't think it's black mold."
Alchie: "Are you sure? It's pretty bad, I think that's what's making me sick."
Medic #1: "Yes sir, I agree that it's probably what's making you sick, but that smell is Ammonia. When did you have your last drink sir?"
Alchie: "This morning, and I can't stop shaking and I feel terrible."
Can we say Delerium tremens??? Yep, gotta love the chrystallized pee complaints from the alchohol-ravaged drunks who don't have another bottle of vodka or gin to swallow down... We got lucky on this run, he was pretty docile and weak for once. Typically he has to be 4 pointed.
Well, I think we can all share our own stories of frequent fliers. What I am not seeing is any tried and true solutions. Perhaps that is because there are none.
My agency tends to approach it from an educational standpoint. Explain to the patient when it is appropriate to call 911 and suggest some alternatives when warranted. We also involve hospital social workers, mental health counselors, family, friends, neighbors, primary care doctors, etc.
There have been times where it is determined the patient cannot care for themselves and they are transitioned into a care facility where they are properly cared for.
What makes me pull out what little hair I have, is when a frequent flier patient is transported to the ED and the staff complains about us bringing them in, yet they still provide the full battery of tests before discharge. If the patient doesn't need to be there, send them on their way without treatment. Who's the real enabler?