Episode 22 – Social Work Conversations – A Community Paramedicine Program tackling Non-Emergency 911 calls with UK Social Workers

Episode 22 – Social Work Conversations – A Community Paramedicine Program tackling Non-Emergency 911 calls with UK Social Workers

Recording on location at the “Annex” a former firehouse in Lexington, KY, Dr. Jones talks with social workers, police officers, and paramedics who have teamed up to provide a new kind of service in their community that is saving lives, saving 911 calls, and saving money.

With:

  • Paramedic Captain Seth Lockard
  • Paramedic Firefighter Patrick Branam
  • UK Social Work Student, Maria Slone
  • UK Social Work Student, Ryan Blanton
  • Officer Zag (Alejandro Zaglul)

To find out more about the research and initiative behind the program, please contact UK professor Allison Gibson

 

Other related Media

News Story (video) at WKYT

https://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Ambulance-runs-down-while-paramedic-morale-is-up-Community-Paramedicine-492898331.html

 

Tackling Non-Emergency 911 Calls: College of Social Work Partners With Lexington Fire Department

UKNOW

https://uknow.uky.edu/student-and-academic-life/tackling-non-emergency-911-calls-college-social-work-partners-lexington

 

Mayor Jim Gray, Lexington Fire Department unveil new Community Paramedicine Program

Lexington Gov

https://www.lexingtonky.gov/news/02-28-2018/mayor-jim-gray-lexington-fire-department-unveil-new-community-paramedicine-program

 

Community Paramedic Pilot in Lexington, Kentucky, Resulting in Fewer EMS Calls

Journal of Emergency Medical Services

https://www.jems.com/articles/news/2018/september/community-paramedic-pilot-in-lexington-kentucky-resulting-in-fewer-ems-calls.html

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TRANSCRIPT

Transcripts are created using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcription and may contain errors. Please check the full audio podcast in context before quoting in print.

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Blake: [00:00:02] Hello and welcome to the social work Conversations podcast produced by the University of Kentucky College of Social Work. My name is Blake Jones. Here we explore the intersection of social work research practice and education. Our goal is to showcase the amazing people associated with our college and to give our listeners practical tools that they can use to change the world.

Paramedicine team speaking together: [00:00:27] Would like us to come to talk with her. Then we have to go see a gentleman who is at the referral yes you’re. Yes. Distopma?. Individual. Yeah he’s he’s having a decline. And the people that. He’s staying with are are really concerned about. What the next steps are going to be. I think at some point we need to get out and check on with the. The police department somebody who has exhibited a lot of signs of paranoia. Calling 911 alot such as “my phone is not work” or “people are listening to me through my television”. And they want us to go talk to him….

Blake: [00:01:14] I’m here this morning at the annex which is a former fire station on new Circle Road in Lexington Kentucky and I’m really excited about this podcast because we’re taking our show on the road this is the first time that we’ve done this we’re sitting around this table with five people that I’m going to interview another first. And so I’m really excited about this podcast and talking about this exciting program in Lexington Kentucky that is that is really melding social work. The fire service and the police department into this really exciting intervention. I guess we could call it an intervention. We’ll talk more about that but let’s go around and introduce ourselves so that we have your names correct and your position. Zag we will start with you sir.

Zag: [00:02:07] My name’s Alejandro Zaglul. I’m a police officer with Lexington’s Police Department. And because of the difficulty pronouncing my name everything just calls me Zag.

Blake: [00:02:17] Thank you.

Ryan: [00:02:19] My name is Ryan Blanton. I’m a social worker here at the fire department a student social worker.

Patrick: [00:02:25] I’m Patrick Branam I’m a paramedic firefighter with the Lexington fire department.

Seth: [00:02:30] My name is Seth Lockard. I am a paramedic captain with the Lexington fire department.

Maria: [00:02:35] My name is Maria Slone and I’m a master’s student at University of Kentucky with social work.

Blake: [00:02:40] Thank you. And I must say that I’m really excited to have my students Ryan and Maria here. I love teaching them but I also love being out in the community with them and learning about the great work that they’re doing so. Patrick I’m going to start with you if you don’t mind. Tell me a little bit about some of the issues that fire fighters face out in the community if no one has ever done a ride along or really talked with a firefighter. What’s what’s the job like?

Patrick: [00:03:18] Well I think it’s the best job in the world the opportunity to help people and to be there when people are in times of need rather it seems like it’s a huge emergency or not for the person that experience it. It’s an emergency that’s important and that’s why they’ve called. The opportunity that we have now is we’re able to address differently our approach to those calls. so if we have somebody that’s calling you know several times for assistance out of the floor or continuing to have chest pains or shortness of breath or things like that we can spend the time with them to better address the actual issue that’s going on. Do they need primary care do they need home health. What do they need to come in there. So you know. I guess I guess we’ve taken a turn that firefighting isn’t always about putting out fires and buildings but it may be putting out a fire that somebody has been dealing with within themselves for a long time frustrations and anger and confusion or just not knowing what to do next or having family to help them and to help better navigate that resource.

Blake: [00:04:31] Yeah. Seth I kind of wanted to ask you the same question because we’ve had this conversation before that you know this really is I feel like it’s a cutting edge way of the fire service to respond to social situations and I wonder if you could talk about what percentage of you know runs are inappropriate or or the calls that you get again and again where it’s really not as as Patrick was saying not really a fire service issue but more of a social issue.

Seth: [00:05:10] Well I think the best understanding of that is that last year Lexington made 48,238 ambulance runs. Of those 233 people accounted for 4100 of the runs. So they were averaging close to 20 runs a person and they the causes and the needs run the gamut. It’s a lot of medication the issue can’t procure the medication. So they want to go back to the hospital to get the medications refilled or have transportation issues that are missing their primary care appointments so they’re sicker now because they didn’t get to their primary care. And so we realize that a large number of our runs are being caused by small number small very small percentage wanting to engage them to try to help address some of those social needs that they have to make them be better healthier lives. You know in their own homes getting the right medical care and the right medical treatment in the right manner. You know we’re really good about showing up in day and months and putting you in the back when and wants and taking you to a hospital that solves your immediate crisis but it does solve the long term problem and the E.R. is really good about solving that immediate crisis. But collectively we’re not walking very well at solving the long term problems which is what’s putting them back in the emergency room to begin with. And we know our emergency rooms are absolutely so busy and so anything that we can do to help you get better care at home through your primary care away from an emergency room is a win for the patient. The ambulances and the ERs and the hospitals.

Blake: [00:06:54] So Maria you are doing an internship here practicum this semester. Were you interested in the fire department before you started this practicum?

Maria: [00:07:08] No I actually had not.

Blake: [00:07:11] Honest answer, thank you.

Maria: [00:07:12] I mean I really hadn’t even considered during my placement or trying to find a placement that this would be an option in my area. I mean I knew I looked at working with the Kentucky State Police in my area but then this opportunity arose and then it was just like automatic that this is where I needed to be. And that I didn’t second guess that. You know it was very intriguing how the service approach was happening in the community. And it’s something that you don’t get to see a lot because these are the individuals that are making those first contacts with people. And so being able to see them at their lowest and being able to build them up with the services that they need in the community has been definitely great to be a part of.

Blake: [00:08:01] That’s good. Ryan how about you what has your experience been like.

Ryan: [00:08:06] I kind of fell into this. I was going to do my Branscomb Sandra Brown found this and thought it was very intriguing because it was something I’ve never done before. I’ve done tons of different things of done substance use of the cabinet. But this is something that you get to see firsthand whether or not.

Blake: [00:08:29] Officer Zag let’s bring you in on this conversation because you were newly added to this program it sounds like just a few weeks ago the police department was and you were chosen or you volunteered to be a part of this. You know one of the things that I do in my therapy practice I work with lots of police officers and firefighters so I try to do ride alongs. I just did one this past weekend and one of the things that strikes me is that so much of policing at least that’s what I’ve seen is responding to social work kinds of issues I in fact comment to the officer I was riding with the other night where we had a situation that we worked I said you know you just did some social work right there because he removed a person from the home took them to a waffle house to kind of cool down and so that he could come back. So for for you. Can you talk about the police perspective of why. Why would we need the police department involved in this particular program.

Zag: [00:09:35] As far as why the involvement in this particular unit I’m kind of bring a set of tools that the fire department social work students don’t have. So anything having to do with mental illness I have a lot more power. There are just afforded to me by the state that I can utilize to assist someone that’s going through a crisis. Just the type of situations that we deal with as police officers have as you stated are mostly social work issues. It was one of the things that whenever I had a ride along that seemed to be the biggest surprise to whoever was riding along was that they thought it was all running and gunning and catching the bad guy. But a lot of it is just dealing with situations that a person has not been able to deal with at home. The last couple of years have had the privilege to work with the downtown entertainment unit in Lexington so everybody calls that the bike unit downtown. So the majority of the population that I got to see down there or a homeless population downtown as it’s it was August of last year working in that unit. You have a lot of downtown to do with as you wish now so you can do proactive work of any kind. August of last year I said take it upon myself to try and help out the two individuals I thought the worst off. I believe during that time we kind of realized that the work I was doing the work that this unit was doing was overlapping that some of those individuals like that’s one Patrick or Seth had decided to go ahead and request that we put a police officer on the unit.

Blake: [00:11:27] Good. Patrick what has been the most surprising thing you all have done this program for what six months now is.

Patrick: [00:11:37] Almost a year now.

Blake: [00:11:38] OK.

Patrick: [00:11:39] One of the things that I enjoy most is bringing a different perspective to our ambulances firefighters. Understanding having the opportunity to learn more about somebody’s story and what got them into the place that they’re in today. Certainly makes me feel much more blessed. Sometimes when I get home and thankful for the place that we’re at in life as a family. It’s amazing to see how difficult it can be. To get services as far as if I don’t have a badge and if I don’t have you know the position that I hold. It’s hard for people to access services on their own. A person who’s experiencing mental illness. I can’t imagine having to sit on hold or punch buttons or wait for that. If you’re if you’re experiencing this press this if you want this press this if you need this press this. I can’t imagine navigating that because I get frustrated at the at the end of trying to get some of these things and then. The differences in rehab programs you know. And some may not be appropriate for a person but then that person’s fought all day trying to get into one that they thought was appropriate for him and then they can’t so so be unable to plug people in and understand which is most appropriate for them. But then seeing people that have been homeless since the 90s housed, doing well. some people that have overdosed almost 20 times that are very young. And you see them you see them now go into school. You see them housed you see them because every time you know you could you were there and you build a relationship. You know I think that like Captain Lockard said a few months ago we’re really good at that 15 minutes that we have you in the back of that ambulance. Make sure that we get you to the appropriate care and alive in the process. But having that time to spend with somebody and get to know their story and building that relationship with the person makes all the difference in the world when you need to help them navigate stuff. We have a fantastic community and a smaller community this program would look like in some ways “home health” of sorts to places that didn’t have access to that but here there are so many resources available in Lexington and so when we were when we were charged with creating this. It seemed more beneficial to the patient and more fiscally responsible to navigate them to programs that we already had in place. But somebody sitting behind a desk doesn’t know that that person is out there needing it and that person that needs that service doesn’t know that those services are out there sometimes. But also I think one of the things that has been really amazing is the compassion and the love that our crews are showing in different ways. Now they’re looking at things a little bit differently. When they refer people to us or hey what can we do. And so they’re taking the extra steps. I’ve got two calls last night for people that were homeless saying Hey I just don’t want to leave them out here. Where can I take them or what can I do. And I think that one of the things that we’re going to see are that we are seeing a decrease in frustration of crews with repeat callers. I think they were seeing…You talked about doing some therapy and you think about PTSD you know how many times in 23 years have I have ever been frustrated when I left a person and thought I wish I could have done more. And now I can do sort of a warm handoff and say hey I’d really like you guys to check on that and then we can follow up with an e-mail. Tell you some things that we have done for that person.

Blake: [00:15:44] Yeah it’s kind of like remembering the humanity of the people that you work with. They’re more than just a run or an aggravation to you but they have stories and their lives are stories that have brought them to this place that they’re not just trying to make your life hard right. Some of them might be trying to make your life hard. But many of them have needs right now that need to be addressed so that you are not inappropriately used your services because it costs a lot of money to run a fire department right and a police department. I’m going to switch over to you Maria and ask you and Ryan to talk about what’s a typical day like if a social work student is listening to this podcast and they’re saying wow that sounds really interesting. I want to try to do that in my community. What’s a typical day like for you?

Maria: [00:16:37] Well each day is not the same. Of course you know we have clients that we follow on a regular basis but there’s always instances where you know that could change in a moment and you have to go do what you need to do to help someone else that’s in more urgent need. But it definitely has been a positive experience for me being out in the field with these gentlemen and learning from them. We take the time to work together. And you know a lot of the times I’m not equipped with the medical information so they’re able to do that. And so we’re just able to work off of each other and our abilities. And so when the social work aspect trumps some of the medical part then you know I can step in and out and talk and and can navigate to see what’s going on with that individual. And then most often times when the medical part I just stand back and listen and learn as I’m there as well. So the days can change. You could be helping somebody with something that is just not as urgent as others. And then sometimes you can spend a whole day with one person. And that’s what I like about it. Like Patrick said it’s not time limited. And most often times when people are receiving services in the community they are being paid for through their insurance. It’s time limited. So there they don’t have the ability to really dig into each individual’s issues and really work thoroughly with those individuals because of course the insurance won’t pay and it’s a business. So that’s one of the good things that I really enjoy about this program is that it isn’t timely but in the end you really do get to dig in to find out what’s really going on with individuals as a whole. And so that’s really a good aspect of the program that I enjoy the most.

Blake: [00:18:23] Good. Ryan how about you what’s been the most surprising or maybe the most challenging thing of this practicum for you?

Ryan: [00:18:29] Surprising is the fact that I get to spend more time with the person that I would usually do in a practicum and had to actually get to know a person and know their everyday life and see where they come from. And most people don’t get to in a hospital setting you don’t get to see where they’re coming from so you don’t know where they’re going back to.

Blake: [00:18:51] So you do you plan when you graduate you graduate next year.

Ryan: [00:18:58] Yes, may.

Blake: [00:18:58] Hopefully? Ha ha..

Ryan: [00:18:58] Lets hope! ha ha…

Blake: [00:18:58] You will you will I promise you will. We’ll work together to make that happen. What do you want to do with your social work career.

Ryan: [00:19:06] Do you know you know in the beginning I want it to be in the hospital. Now I don’t know because this is interesting to me. This is certain that I come in and I’m happy to be here and happy to do this every day. I’m happy to spend six hours with you to do your insurance fix your insurance doctor if you need a doctor PCV anything that makes my day better.

Blake: [00:19:30] Good – Officer Zag let’s go over to you and talk a little bit more about the the police mentality maybe. Because this is really. I think this is very exciting this is an exciting program and I think it’s an exciting way to do police work that you know the way that you’re learning how to deal with people who are mentally ill for example is very different than it was even 10 years ago I think. Am I right about that.

Zag: [00:20:09] Yes you are it’s honestly one of the greatest things that’s come across our department has been the Crisis Intervention Team training that we’ve gotten. It is fantastic. Educating officers on how to deal with an individual that is in crisis how to spot signs of severe mental illness or mental illness. Education Emergency detentions that we were all able to do but a lot of just procedural issues that were coming up that are making it so when we were doing the emergency detention the right information just wasn’t coming across to the psychiatrists that were evaluating these individuals that qualified mental health professionals that are so just having that additional education in the department has been fantastic.

Blake: [00:21:04] Right. Patrick I think you mentioned people who have mental illness trying to just navigate life trying to get doctors appointments and you know insurance or whatever and how difficult that must be and Seth you we were talking about Officer Zag coming on and you said that you know at first I don’t know if you wore a uniform or had a marked car before but you’ve changed that. You’re you’re sitting here in plain clothes today. Seth, talk about how why that is so important for the police to be in unmarked cars in plain clothes.

Seth: [00:21:44] There are many people in many of the population that we’re working with don’t necessarily want a big authority figure telling them what they need to do or how to live their life. If you are and that’s not really what we’re doing. But but that’s what they perceive. So having somebody and luckily fire departments loved – We’re liked people so we have a we’re not necessarily an authority figure. But when you have a police officer that’s got a gun on the waist and handcuffs there it’s intimidating. And having not having that authority know even though he brings all those tools it’s not as perceived a little a little story. We were able to procure another vehicle from our fleet services which happened to be an old police car. And it was unmarked. It was a white Crown Victoria but they like to put police department stickers on the official license plates and we were parked at a local place that we will kind of help out. And as we left we realized that all the people that we were looking to try to help were sitting on the periphery because our vehicle had a. Lexington Police Departments stick on the official license plate and we realized quickly that it’s a standoff. People don’t want to be around you know anybody that they view as an authority figure even though that they’re there to be helpful. They are concerned about that interaction. So it’s definitely something that we have learned quickly about this to how to approach it and come down a little bit a different angle. Luckily chief Whethers and the police department chain of command was very open and to allow officer Zaglul come in his street clothes and you know help facilitate getting unmarked cruiser for them. So it’s not as intimidating when we’re dealing with the people because we were actually there to help not create problems. Right.

Blake: [00:23:32] <mm-um>. Patrick I want to jump over to you and since this podcast is called social work conversations I want to ask you if your opinion of social work or social workers has changed either through this program or even before that.

Patrick: [00:23:51] No absolutely. And. I think that in the hospitals you don’t have an opportunity to see some of the. You don’t get the picture that we do. We often get frustrated when a decision is made by a counselor or a doctor in three minutes when we spent 16 straight hours with someone who’s trying to seek help for an addiction. And in a minute a doctor or a counselor comes in and goes “eh – they don’t need to be here.” But being able to better advocate and learning how to better advocate that story to them makes a difference on that relationship having a better understanding of each part of the wheel each spoken word and how it operates and the importance that it has. Makes a huge difference in painting the bigger picture. You know being able to be a part of that care plan team and a lot of times were invited by the social workers now at the hospitals to say hey listen to listen to the rest of the story because we’re not getting it all. Having them having the social workers. Has made a huge difference in navigating those resources and doing it well. And like you know everyone of us at the table brings something different a different tool set. And so today I may need a wrench. And Maria has got that we may need a hammer. Seth can bring that. Whatever we need to get the jobs done. Seems to be coming together when we just see how all of that plays together. There’s a lot of times that as a police officer Zag has worked with social workers to get some things done before and we have as well that now having them here on our team and with us we’re able to look at the bigger picture and best approach that care. You know we have a lot of a lot of run records on people and so we can look at that and we can say hey let’s put together a care plan for those people kind of have an idea of what we’re walking into them to try to offer assistance. A lot of them are so used to being told no. You know there’s nothing else we can do that already having a plan in place that we think will fit in a backup plan maybe makes makes such a huge difference. I know that I think about a little bit off topic but I think about I have my oldest son has ADHD. My youngest son has autism and better understanding how some of the social services work for them especially Bryson because we’re least restrictive in our care. And the least restrictive still leaves Bryson out in the cold because he has the right to be out in the cold.

Blake: [00:26:48] Right.

Patrick: [00:26:48] Even when he doesn’t understand that. So one of the things that I think that we’ve all been able to do together and I don’t know that we would have been able to see as well without them. Or in the light that we’ve seen them with them is the gaps in the system. And so it’s the first time I think that we’ve been able to hold some. Some agencies accountable because we’re seeing the continued slip in the system. And it’s also helped some hospitals and doctors office be able to restructure. Some of their approaches because they didn’t realize there was that gap. You look at you know we talk about mental illness when we talk about there was a rise in and people go into jail when we closed institutions if you will. And so. We’re able to go into the jail. The detention center here and start working towards a discharge plan which has been successful with several of the people that we’ve we’ve worked with and where are you going to go when you get out of here. You know you’ve been in here for a while you’re not using drugs while you’re here. You’re not engaging in the activities that got you here. What do we need to do to keep you away from that and then plugging them into those things. And a lot of that stuff we wouldn’t be able to do without Ryan and Maria because they can see a whole different – they have a broader picture of resources and in a lot of cases than we do.

Blake: [00:28:16] Yeah I you know I think what you’re talking about is kind of that system’s perspective right. That the person who you do the run on that’s overdosing you know medically you’ll take care of them. But there are all these connected needs that they have so that that doesn’t happen again. So they don’t die you know. And I think that’s what’s so powerful right about social work is being a part of this is that you and that all of you at this table are seeing things from this kind of systems perspective it sounds like. I want to ask you the same question only about fire fighters have has your perspective changed and Seth’s kind of laughing right now so just just to ignore him. I know he’s he’s a personality. What do you. What has your perspective changed?

Maria: [00:29:16] I think it’s just changed in general because of this program being able to see them out there doing what their they’re able to do. They’ve done a lot of great work with the individuals prior to us coming in and building those reporters and making those community connections to the best of their ability. So I think that they’ve done really well and it’s been been an honor to be able to be here and work with them. It’s definitely been a placement that has been rewarding to say the least. And so I’m really excited to see it grow even more and be able to you know see this shine even more in the community. So yeah they’re great. It’s a good it’s a good setting. I like it.

Blake: [00:30:02] You going to miss them? ha ha…

Maria: [00:30:05] yeah…but I would not have openly said that if you had not asked that. ha ha…

Blake: [00:30:12] ha ha…Seth I want to ask you about money because sure enough there’s going to be some social work researcher or some researcher or some kind setting out listening to this saying you know that all sounds really great. I love the concept. I love the you know the idea of everybody working together. But does it save money. And so can you answer that question? And it’s OK if you can’t at this point but do you think it does?

Seth: [00:30:45] Well in 2013 I’m a numbers guy Patrick’s the heart and I’m the brain.

Blake: [00:30:52] ha ha…

Seth: [00:30:53] In 2013 in 2013 Lexington fire department made 33,000 ambulance runs and started 33,500 and change. Last year we made 48,200 ambulance runs. That’s a 44 percent increase between 2013 and 2017. This, as of yesterday we’re negative 1.8% run. So we actually have decreased our run volume. So here’s what I look at. And we didn’t grow. Right so it’s a relative decrease of 8 or 9 percent. Right. And here’s where I look at it. Had we been growing the 8 percent that we would that would have been another 4000 runs which in essence is another ambulance that we need to be putting on the street or looking at putting on the street to staff and ambulances pushing a million dollars a year to staff an ambulance. So the fact that we didn’t we didn’t grow 4000 runs that we’re not needing to be looking at another and wants is in essence saving a million dollars of money that we need. We look at it from that perspective that’s a great thing. We look at it from you know our ambulances not making as many runs maybe there are more available for those critical runs. You know we’re not making sick cases. The cases of the runs that pay people can be transported drive themselves or go to their primary care doctor anywhere we can reduce that unnecessary ambulance call. So that run that ambulance is available in your neighborhood for that chest pain that heart attack that stroke that severe respiratory distress for. For a kid that 1 year old is really sick. And parents are quite nervous about you tell him we can have that ambulance available in the neighborhood is always a win – when you look at money. You know there are some there are some states that are starting to do reimbursements for this type of program. Minnesota has started to do it for the Medicaid side. Anthem has adopted a few. They actually have a potential reimbursement revenue because they actually have a code for treating on scene and not transporting you know generally and revenue is tied to transporting. And what we’re doing is trying not to transport right. Our ultimate goal is that people are getting care through their primary care doctor getting their medications and being med compliant. That’s one of the things that we are trying to achieve. All these medical illnesses know even mental health illnesses if people are taking their medications like they’re supposed to be and things go a lot better. And so anything that we can do is a great thing. And luckily I don’t have to worry about making money or revenue but definitely that’s a conversation that’s being had not just here in Kentucky but throughout this country. You know as more and more these programs are starting you know I’d like to think that we were on the cutting edge. But the fact of the matter is in Kentucky they had started this pilot program the Kentucky Board of EMS and we were the seventh program to be approved. We were I would say slow but definitely we could have been quicker at the front end. There’s some really really good programs throughout the country. Colorado Springs has got a really good program Fort Worth has a really good program. You know there are some really neat programs that are happening throughout the country and it’s important realize that if you’ve seen one community paramedic some program you’ve seen one community paramedic program because it all depends on what your community needs what your community has what your community needs and how you’re filling. You know Patrick talked about gaps earlier in trying to fill in those gaps to make sure that the patients are being navigated in the healthcare system effectively and well because it’s a system now. It’s not like you call your family doctor who happened to go to the same church as you went to. And he lives down the street from you and it’s different now. You know the health care system it’s doctors are part of large corporations now and it’s a totally different environment to be navigating.

Blake: [00:35:08] Yeah. Patrick did you have something to add.

Patrick: [00:35:10] So I think when you talk about cost savings it’s important to to look at obviously the hospital ERs are saving money on readmissions and they’re not getting dinged on readmissions. So hospitals obviously are saving which saves all of us but also resources that are already in place for example the senior center in Lexington and somebody sitting at home and the biggest reason they call is because they’re very lonely. And they don’t have anybody to talk to. So they call and we come out or you know maybe take them to the hospital or maybe just take a blood pressure you know or somebody early on in my career that we would just stop and take our blood pressure and she stopped calling. She just needed that human interaction. So when you’re better navigating and utilizing resources that are already in your community. I think you’re being more fiscally responsible with the things that you have the resources that you have. So getting that wheelchair bus that can pick up that lady and take her to the senior center to spend the day with peers and friends and being involved in some types of programs makes a huge difference in her life. But it’s a better use of things that you already have in your community.

Blake: [00:36:21] That’s good. Patrick I want to ask you a question about something that Seth alluded to before about your uniform and the power and maybe the danger of being in uniform. What power does the wearing the badge wearing the uniform does that give you any power in these kinds of situations.

Patrick: [00:36:47] I think it gives you first gives you a huge responsibility. You do have certain privileges about wearing the uniform and being sworn as a police officer or as a firefighter and paramedic. I think that some of the feedback that we’ve been able to give crews as they ask us questions are you know are our co-workers it helps us to look a different way when we look at a person’s story to realize. We wear it differently. If we understand that some of the power and responsibility that comes along with this uniform and this badge is a voice. And so how you use those privileges and responsibilities if you use them as a voice and and to advocate for the person that you’re working with then it makes a huge difference in how you wear it.

Blake: [00:37:43] That’s good. Well I want to thank each of you for your work. This is this is so exciting and I think we also need to give credit to Dr. Allison Gibson at the University of Kentucky College of Social Work – she’s really the person who got the grant kind spearhead itself.

Seth: [00:38:02] I think we need to give a shout out to Tracy wells because Tracy andDr. Gibson happened to make a connection and Tracy was the one that actually emailed us and said hey you need to hook up with each other and converse to each other so we we were thankful to Tracy to get us with Dr. Gibson who brought us these wonderful students.

Blake: [00:38:21] That’s good. And Tracy is in dispatch?.

Seth: [00:38:24] She’s the 911 dispatcher.

Blake: [00:38:26] So yeah that’s great. So you know it’s so exciting that this work is happening. I’m going to end with Officer Zag. I always like to ask at the end of the podcast self care question. You all work in and we have social workers work in a trauma based profession. People don’t call you for good things. So the people that I’ve seen in my therapy practice the first responders I really work with them on self care and having a life outside of their job. What do you do to take care of yourself.

Zag: [00:39:02] Honestly I’ve got a 14 month old daughter so…

Blake: [00:39:06] So you get no sleep ha ha…

Zag: [00:39:08] actually. She has a fantastic sleep. Oh she usually gets a good eight hours of sleep 12 hours of sleep sometimes which is fantastic. But she’s a cuddler. She she likes to play. She’s always happy. So for me honestly it’s I get home take off the gun belt and get to play with my kid for a while.

Blake: [00:39:30] That’s good. That’s good. Well thank you all again for spending some time with us this morning. I know that you’re super busy and you have people to get out and see in the community today. I just want to thank you. And you know thank you for forgiving your lives in the service of others either medically or or in other ways I just appreciate that so much we’re we’re taping this right around Christmas time and you know I know there’s a lot of there’s a lot of pain around Christmas time in the holidays and I don’t think we really recognize that. But I want to thank you for using your lives to to address some of that pain. So thanks for coming on.

Paramedicine team speaking together: [00:40:10] Thank you. Thank you.

Blake: [00:40:15] You’ve been listening to the social work conversations podcast. Thanks for joining us. And now let’s move this conversation into action.

Announcer: [00:40:25] This production is made possible by the support of the University of Kentucky College of Social Work. Interim Dean and Vale and all the faculty and staff who support researching contemporary social problems and prepare students for the social work profession hosted by Dr. Blake Jones produced by Jason Johnston thanks to our Webmaster Jonathan Hagee. Music by Billy McLaughlin. To find out more about the UK college social work and this podcast visit http://socialwork.uky.edu/podcast