Invaluable lifting aid not fitted as standard on all emergency vehicles
To mark Falls Awareness Week taking place this week (18-22 June) Fran Garman, wife of David Garman, chairman and founder of Mangar International, tells us about a recent fall her elderly mother experienced…
“My mother aged 91 years fell at home last month. She had forgotten to wear her aid call pendant so she was probably on the floor for a couple of hours before the carer found her and called me. Due to her distress we were uncertain whether she had injured herself seriously, apart from the obviously visible bruises and grazes, so we dialled 999.
A paramedic arrived in an ambulance car over 20 minutes later. He was reasonably confident she had not broken anything but he could not lift her safely because he was not equipped with an emergency lifting cushion, which is now standard equipment on most ambulances.
Accordingly he rang for another ambulance. Another 20 minutes later it arrived with two more paramedics. All this time my mother was lying on the floor becoming increasingly miserable despite efforts to make her more comfortable.
Having further checked her over carefully the latter two paramedics used their emergency lifting cushion to raise her to a seated position. From there they sideways transferred her to a mobile chair and then to the ambulance and the hospital A&E one hour’s drive away.
We are most grateful for the professional assistance and care. However, knowing how much pressure and demand is currently placed on the ambulance service, surely it cannot be economically viable to have three staff and two ambulances attending one elderly lady?
It has recently been shown that falls among the over 65’s led to 650,000 ambulance call-outs over a 12 month period in England and Wales. Nationally this number accounts for 10% of all emergency calls for ambulances. What a shame therefore that the first paramedic did not have the invaluable lifting aid in his own car – it takes up minimal space. It would surely have been quicker and therefore cheaper for the service, as well as meaning my mother would have spent less time lying on the floor.”