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From the frontline: Good systems save lives
On #StartAHeart day, Freddie Ivin, a call handler for the NHS 111 service in Norfolk, explains the vital training role NHS Digital plays in helping call handlers deal with CPR calls, and Gina Gill, at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, describes the impact of a call she received about a man who had stopped breathing.
16 October 2020
I tend to get an adrenaline rush when the call begins, so it takes time for my mind and body to settle down again.
I personally find it helpful to stand up and perform the compressions on the table in front of me so I can gauge the rhythm and effectiveness of the compressions being done. To keep the caller performing the compressions, we advise being on loudspeaker so the caller has both hands to perform and we can hear the rhythm of the compressions clearly.
After every CPR call, I take a couple of minutes to compose myself and get back into taking more regular calls. I tend to get an adrenaline rush when the call begins, so it takes time for my mind and body to settle down again.
Depending on the type of call you receive dictates how you feel afterwards. However, the process we follow is exactly the same. We need to keep people on the phone and we need to keep them calm.
It can be tiring and I would advise anyone to take a short comfort break after a CPR call as the ramifications may not hit you until later on. I will sometimes talk the call through with the manager or a clinician for reassurance.
One thing I do after a call is not dwell on it and I do not take it home with me. I would say this is easier said than done for some people, so it’s best to speak to a manager if this is happening to them.
No CPR call is the same. It all depends on the patient’s age, the reason for their symptoms and if anyone is with them.
I definitely feel supported and confident in what I’m doing. I feel safe in the knowledge that if I need someone to take over the call, they can do.
I feel privileged to have such a clear and easy system to follow.