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The Art Of The Intercept

The paramedic intercept is a skill just as any other. Commonly overlooked during initial training, effective communications used during the patient handoff plays a significant role in patient care. Actually, the Joint Commission concluded that 70% of hospital-related “sentinel events” involved communications, with 50% of those events occurring during patient care handoffs. (J Quality Patient Safety, 2010 Feb; 36(2)) Think of the last time you were giving report, just to have the accepting physician or RN ask questions that would’ve already been answered had they been listening, and not just hearing you. I constantly listen to gripes from my peers how they felt disrespected by hospital staff, only to arrive on a scene with them and they do the exact same thing to a lower-scope provider. This hypocrisy is avoidable.

The first question we need to address is, “Who are we intercepting with?” These volunteers sometimes include farmers, mill workers, or engineers. Other times, they could be a nurse, a cop, or that off-duty paramedic who has been on the same first responder department since before they had their name on a single certificate. Regardless of their background, when they call us they all have one thing in common: they need help. Whether that be an advanced procedure, an assessment tool, or just some comfort of having a paramedic on-board, they felt that they could not care for this patient unless you, the paramedic, were there as well. So, now that we understand there are many different types of providers we could potentially intercept with, lets discuss how we can effectively receive the patient.

 When we cross the threshold of the apparatus bay, we have to make a conscious decision: