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911 Protocol for Health Aides
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911 Protocol for Health Aides

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If you hire a health care aide do not assume they will be able to handle a 911 call. What I do is to run every one of them (whew!) through a "scenario". That is to say a "mock" 911 call, making believe I am the 911 operator. Surprisingly, many fail this simple exercise. In the patient's room I have a loose-leaf book labeled: "Rules of the Road". The protocols for various emergencies and contingencies are spelled out clearly in this book. The most important rule I teach is NOT to call "security" in the building or "their nursing supervisor". If you hire aides from an agency mark my words. They will call their agency supervisor for instructions BEFORE calling 911 unless you straighten this out from square one. This week a woman aide I know smelled smoke. Instead of calling 911 she called building security to come up and investigate. She was lucky. It was a neighbor burning food. She did the wrong thing. These fellows get paid to make-nice with the siren and the lights.

NEVER HESITATE TO ROLL THOSE ENGINES!

To make this easy I have created a print-out for your computer. It is important to note I have included a sentence "I am located in ________town (or borough". Many lives are lost because emergency equipment is sent to a similar address in an adjoining district. In New York City there is a Broadway in all five boroughs, for example. The other worthwhile bit of information is "the nearest intersecting street". By the same token make sure there is a NUMBER in front of the house or building and a NUMBER or LETTER on the door.

I am not a happy camper with the various services that rent a button that connects them with their operator, who then calls 911. In the first grade we used to play something called "telephone". One child gets a message and whispers it to the child behind and you go around the room. Information is lost and distorted with every repetition. It is bad enough that in some cities when you want to report a fire you first tell your story to a screener, who then decides to have the information sent to a fire dispatcher, where it must be repeated. It is best to call 911 directly.
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