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During our September case-based discussion, we heard from the Community First Responders (CFRs) who were working in the past few months throughout the COVID pandemic. Kieron Brand and Cameron Hoyle talked us through their case attending a cardiac arrest, and they highlighted the importance of debriefing after such an event, and how crucial it was to stay calm. Erin McCabe and Hannah Symcox discussed attending an elderly patient who had fallen at home, and in particular how they managed other people around the scene, and how they put the patient at ease. This was followed by a Panel discussion with all the members of the Response team discussing their experience of responding during a pandemic. They all seemed to take a lot away from the experience, especially being able to work longer hours than normal, and many found it was rewarding to be helping out during the pandemic. A massive well done to everyone who volunteered, and also to those presenting in this CBD!
Written by: Anna Green
Academic Forum Co-ordinator Hull 2020/21
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our CFRs felt that their skills and training could be put to good use by providing much-needed assistance in the community. After days of logistical and operational planning, gathering volunteers, and liaising with YAS, our COVID-19 Response team came into effect on May 1st, 2020.
Our aim was to provide a service for at least 12 hours a day, 7 days a week as a CFR attending Category 1 and 2 medical emergencies such as cardiac arrests, unconsciousness and chest pains primarily in Hull. Additionally, our team had been further trained to assess patients who had fallen down and assist them in getting back on their feet.
The entire team was composed of 10 medical students who were regular CFRs on the programme. Our operational team set up a rota according to responders’ availability, arranged duty clinicians everyday to offer welfare support, provided accommodation for those requiring it, as well as other logistical arrangements such as additional uniforms to maintain high-level cleanliness while responding.
We were supported by YAS throughout the entire process. YAS provided a marked response vehicle for our responders to attend the scenes in and arranged additional training to help patients who have fallen at home. Moreover, they introduced the responders to ambulance stations in highly populated areas and ensured adequate PPE was available to protect our responders and their patients.
After 900+ hours of responding over a period of 3 months, attending about 188 incidents, ranging from cardiac arrests and diabetic emergencies to falls and fractures, we felt that it was time to bring our Response team to a halt.
At the end of it, one of the many things that our CFRs have to say is that they have found this extremely rewarding! They have gained hands-on experience when it comes to communicating with acutely unwell patients, managing them and learning how to carry out an effective handover with the ambulance crew. Feedback received from paramedics on the frontline has been positive, with responders performing exceptionally well alongside professional pre-hospital care clinicians.
We are truly grateful to all those who made this Response team a success, notably members of YAS, St Johns Ambulance station who offered us a base site to respond from, all the duty clinicians, the Operational team, HYMS and most importantly our CFRs who showed a true sense of bravery and selflessness by stepping up in this time of need.
As a programme, we are incredibly proud of the work the team have done over this COVID-19 period. Moving forward, we hope to continue using the skills gained through the COVID-19 Response team and remain a valuable service within our community.
Here is a video created to highlight the work of the response team: COVID Response team video