A day in the life of... an Emergency Home Responder

Posted on: 17/04/2021

I normally work the night shift from 6pm until 6am the following morning; this is an essential part of providing a comprehensive 24-hour service to our service users. I am often asked why I prefer to work the nightshift, the answer is simple; I loathe the heavy traffic during the day!

My night shift varies, I typically have seven or eight call-outs per shift. I make sure I get plenty of sleep before the first night shift and a two-hour nap before I start helps me to feel fresh and alert.

My preparation always starts in the same way, I eat a full meal before my shift starts so I don’t get hungry. I put on my freshly laundered uniform, check my phone, iPad and lone worker device are fully charged, and that my trusty torch is full of life. I then check my lifting equipment is ready for whatever the shift brings.

It’s not long after 6pm and my phone jumps to life, it’s the alarm response centre with my first call out of the evening. I’m given details regarding an older lady who has fallen in the garden, she is not injured but needs lifting. Within minutes of receiving the call, the job details have come through on my iPad and I am in the car heading to the address. Upon arrival I find the lady in the garden on the floor, she tells me she had lost her balance whilst bringing in the laundry from the washing line. I carry out a fall assessment, checking for injuries and luckily she is uninjured, she just needs assistance to get back up. Using my lifting device, I get her back up supporting her and making her comfortable in the armchair. I could see she was shaken up; as I didn’t have another call to go to, I decided to bring the washing inside for her to save her going back outside. She was so pleased I attended, she thought she may have been stuck outside all night. I said my goodbyes and it was not long until the phone rang again.

This time it’s a ‘No response’ call from a gentleman who had pressed his pendent but did not speak to us via the speaker unit. So I’m on my way to check that he’s ok. After quickly looking through the house, in all the rooms, I located him on the bathroom floor where he was having a seizure. My first aid training kicked in, I placed him into the recovery position and dialled 999. I followed the instructions from the call taker and within minutes paramedics were on the scene to take over from me.

I try not to get fazed by things, if we panic everybody else panics. You have to have an air of calm about you to do this job. On a call out, if you can calm the person down you’re halfway there.

The next call is another ‘No response’. It was starting to go dark by now so finding addresses on a night shift are a little more challenging if there are no door numbers; thank goodness for the GPS in my car! I arrive at the address but can’t immediately see the key safe, there are always one or two that like to hide but I quickly find it under the window. I knock at the door and upon entering I can hear the television on at full volume, the lady is sat watching her favourite game show. I explain that her pendant has gone off, she apologises and we have a quick chat, where I make sure she is OK, when I know all is well I say my goodbyes.

I make my way home for a quick coffee and a snack. It’s not long before another call comes in and I’m on my way again. Driving at night I often see wildlife; tawny owls and foxes too. The other night I came out of a house to find a hedgehog warming itself on my cars alloy wheel.

It’s 2am and the shift continues with another ‘no response call’; an elderly gentleman who has fallen. He had banged his head and was bleeding. Again, my first aid skills were called upon along with a call to 999. After a few more call-outs I return home. At 4:30am the phone rings and it’s a non-injured fall. This time it’s a lady who has lost her balance whilst on her way to use the bathroom. I carry out the fall assessment, use the equipment to lift her up, settle her back into bed, bid farewell and I am on my way again.

I love the drive home just before dawn, the sun is coming up and the thought of getting into bed is appealing. As soon as I get home, I find the best thing to do is to try and sleep, to keep my body clock on a night shift pattern.

I love my job, it’s different every day and the feeling of helping someone in their hour of need is the best thing.