Assessment three is focused on two crucial areas within the mental health arena, self-care and minimisation of the effects of the job on Paramedics and cultural communication aspects when assisting people who identify as Indigenous.
Your Assessment task is in two parts:
1. Development of a poster AND
2. Answering a cultural communication question within a written assignment
Task 1 Poster (can be developed as a group or individually)
The incidence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Secondary Trauma in Paramedics and other emergency services has in recent times become the focus of a number of studies (people are talking). This said while many Australian and International Ambulance Services have peer support programs in place for staff experiencing these mental health challenges, there hasn’t been the same degree of focus on preventative and awareness programs for this same group.
In all things medical, prevention is better than cure.
For task 1 you are required to prepare a poster that can be used as a comprehensive learning resource for Paramedics and Managers/Supervisors in an Ambulance Service. The focus of the poster is:
• The effects of PTSD and secondary trauma.
• How to minimise the effects of PTSD and secondary trauma.
• Therapeutic options to assist the person experiencing PTSD and secondary trauma.
The poster should include the following information on both conditions.
• Methods for early detection including self-care detecting methods such as stress scales.
• Therapeutic options aimed at assisting the person. This should be backed up with references wherever possible.
• Reference list.
Each section should be succinct and a graphic/s should be incorporated into the poster to increase visual appeal.
Task 2 Written Assessment (Individual assessment)
Dispatch Details: Called by the Queensland Police Service (QPS) to a 19 year old aboriginal male who is jumping at shadows and not ‘talking normally’. QPS are on scene.
Time of Day: 2000 hours (Summer time in the tropics).
Time to Hospital: 15 mins
Time to Scene: 10 mins
CCP back up: 15 minutes from time of call.
Other Ambulance back up: Nil
On arrival at scene
Windscreen survey: Shows a small house on a suburban street. The yard is full of people with around 60 to 70 outside the house, on the street and generally milling around.
Scene detail: There are 10 Aboriginal teens in a small corner of the backyard with the patient. There is also a small group of older people sitting on the patio out of the way of the main groups.
The girlfriend of the patient leads you to the male who is literally jumping at shadows.
General Appearance: On approaching, you notice the patient (Cedric Grey) is shirtless has very well defined musculature and scaring on his upper torso indicating he has been through an cultural ritual of becoming a man. He is confused about day, time and events but recognises his family on scene. As you get nearer to the patient you see him lunge at one of the Police Officers hugging him and he refuses to let go. Cedric is non-violent but appears to be suffering auditory and visual hallucinations about someone wanting to hurt him.
Presenting History: Patient’s girlfriend informs you he is from the remote Indigenous community of Aurukun (see map below, Aurukun lands are marked in red) and has schizophrenia. He travelled to Cairns for a family funeral two weeks ago and forgot his medications. The funeral for his 20 year old Cousin Brother (not a typo, this is an Indigenous relative or cousin on the mothers side in Caucasian terms) was earlier in the day and all of the extended family gathered at the family home in the suburbs.
Cedric has not consumed any alcohol or drugs during his stay.
**This assessment is based on a real case attended by Paramedics. Details have been altered so no person can be identified.
Given what has been discussed within your resources for ‘Mental State Assessment in a Culturally Diverse Society’ and your prescribed text, how would you manage this situation in a culturally sensitive manner?
Note: This question is not about the clinical situation or even about the Mental State Assessment it’s about communication. Communication underpins your ability to identify a patient’s mental health condition (if one is there) and determine an effective treatment pathway.
There is an obvious need for this patient to attend hospital but what would you say and do to get him there?
• Think about people you could use to potentially convince the patient to attend hospital.
• Think about statements you would make and to whom (on scene) to assist you to get this patient into the vehicle and accept treatment.
Your task is to document your communication strategy for this situation. It’s important to note this is about you and your interaction not a prescriptive response.
What works for a solidly built, bald, middle aged Paramedic may not work for a petite 21 year old female or indeed a 30 year old male built the same way with ink and dreadlocks.
Document in detail who you would target to assist you and what you would say to them to get them to assist you.