- Contact us
Why emotional support for you and your patients is critical.
The value of emotionally supporting and reassuring your patient is greatly understated.
Taking the time to talk and meet them at their level is an important communication tool essential in all patient care, especially in first aid.
A patient who has experienced any trauma either physical or emotional needs a compassionate First Aider to supply an abundance of well worded emotional care on top of the regular patient care. When we really think about it, we should not be separating them, both emotional and physical care should be incorporated into the one treatment every time for every patient. Especially the young and ageing.
When we experience a Trauma, a flight and fight response can take hold. A sudden large and sustained release of adrenaline is surging through our bodies causing tremors. Our pupils dilate and we enter survival mode. During the fight or flight response your body is trying to prioritise, so anything it doesn't need for immediate survival is placed on the back burner.
This process is very normal, but each patient will experience it differently.
Communication between you and the patient needs to be targeted at their level. For example, use their words. If they claim to feel fearful that's a tool that we can use. Refer to that but stating, "feeling fearful is normal,". Use words that they understand at that stressful moment. Try not to be too clinical or overly professional. Avoid words or phrases that cause further stress, such as, "Trust me, you're not going to die". This phrase draws thoughts of death.
Compassion and understanding are not taught in the classroom. Use your experiences and resources around you if you get stuck on what to say. Take a deep breath and try to be calm and collective.
Children commonly look to a loved one or a friend for comfort. It is good practice not to separate them from this help. Be inclusive and supportive to the patient and their support network. Ideally, consent from a parent or guardian must be sought but, in an emergency, treat while waiting for this to happen.
Have you heard of a Trauma Teddy? Most if not all Australian Emergency Ambulances carry one. A cute toy teddy really bridges trust and makes treatment easier for both the child and the first aider; a familiar and good choice in care.
Let's now focus on you the First Aider.
Rendering care is sometimes tough and very emotional. Most first responders will have had stressful days where they might come home and have difficulty concentrating or may experience flash backs of what happened. At times they may even break down with tears, or have trouble sleeping. This is not an uncommon response to stress. Early recognition that this is possibly a post incident stress reaction is very helpful. Confiding with a trusted loved one or a friend is a great start. Please see your GP. If it's a work-related incident, report this to your manager or appropriate official. There are processes in place to help you.
Remember, the First Aider is always the highest priority so please look after yourself.