Chapter 2: Operational factors

Scene times, distance, and call volumes

Scene times and distance

When supporting a patient and family on a palliative care call, your time may be spent in the patient's home rather than in transporting them to a facility. This can be unsettling for paramedics whose careers have focused on short scene times with a priority on transport. Some paramedics find it stressful to spend extended time on a call while other calls may go unanswered or are delayed. This is particularly true for crews covering a large geographical area where transport times can be long.

The time spent with the patient and family may still result in a shorter call than would the time spent in transporting the patient - particularly in rural and remote areas where transport times may be long, or when there are delays in transferring care to facility staff. 

This time can make a constructive difference to patients and families.  Without the need to rush through a checklist, you can take the time to build a relationship and get to know the patient and family. 

High call volumes

Call volume and the pace of work can impact your ability to prepare for and bounce back from a palliative care call. 

If you work in high volume call areas, you may not have time to decompress between calls. The pace may be intense as you move from an acute trauma call, to a palliative care call and then on to a labour and delivery call. When you are going to a palliative care call, there may be little time to prepare mentally.