Chapter 4: When you're concerned

Warning signs

The palliative care expert says
Dr. Tara Tucker outlines how to recognize compassion fatigue. (3:22)Video transcript

These signs suggest more urgent help may be needed. The paramedic is:

  • Excessively irritable, making it difficult to approach them.

  • Highly withdrawn and non-communicative.

  • Using alcohol or other substances excessively.

  • Sleeping more than usual, or having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

  • Experiencing frequent nightmares.

  • Behaving in unusual or mysterious ways.

  • Expressing dark thoughts or thoughts of suicide.

The paramedic may have difficulty explaining how they’re doing. They may believe that nothing and no one will be able to help. Be patient; let them know their concerns are valid and important. Ask them to say more about how they’re feeling, especially when they don’t want to talk. It often helps to talk about how hard it is to talk!


Conversation Prompts

I don’t want to intrude, but do you mind if I ask how you’re doing? 

To be honest, I’m worried about you. You don’t seem like yourself lately. (Provide specific examples)   

Talking about what’s bothering us can be really hard. I’m hoping you’ll try because I’m worried about you.   

If you’d rather not talk to me, how would you feel about talking with.....