News

Are you being safe on the road?

Today marks the first day of spring! As the weather warms up there will be more and more cyclists on the road. Whether you are an avid cyclist or you like to bike leisurely, follow these tips to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Safety Check

Make sure that your bike is the correct size to your height. You should always feel comfortable and in control on your bike. Frame size will vary by the type of bicycle you are riding but as a general rule, you should be able to stand flat-footed over your bike’s frame (the top tube) with about two to five centimetres of space.

Check to make sure that your brakes are working properly and that your tires are inflated to the correct tire pressure as shown on the tire.

Your helmet should meet safety standards and should not previously be damaged in a collision. Helmets that have been in a collision will no longer protect you even if there is no visible damage. See Mountain Equipment Co-op’s tips for choosing the correct cycling helmet. In Ontario, the law states that every cyclist under the age of 18 must wear an approved bicycle helmet.

Be Visible

Always assume that others on the road cannot see you. Wear light-coloured clothing to improve visibility. By law your bicycle must have a white front light and a red rear light or reflector. The law also requires white reflective strips on the front forks and red reflective strips on the rear stays.

Be Heard

The law requires that you have a working bell or horn so that others using the road may hear you.

Proper Signals

Communicating to others on the road will add to your safety and theirs. Use proper hand signals when turning right, turning left or stopping. The more effectively you use your signals, the more the other road users will be able to anticipate your actions and avoid a collision.

For complete bicycle safety, the Government of Ontario has put together a wonderful guide to ensure that everyone on the road stays safe. Share with us your favourite bike safety tips on Twitter at @SPS_SEMS!

Works cited:

http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/pdfs/cycling-skills.pdf

https://www.mec.ca/en/explore/how-to-choose-a-cycling-helmet/

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Spectrum Patient Services is hiring!

Spectrum Patient Services is hiring Medical Transfer Attendants in Toronto as well as Call-Takers and Dispatchers in Hamilton. 

For Medical Transfer Attendants, you MUST BRING the following: 

• First Aid & CPR Certification
• G Ontario Driver’s Licence
• Clean Driver’s Abstract

Address: 

2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1200
Toronto, Ontario M4W 1A8

Dates and times

March 6th 10am - 2pm
March 14th 12pm - 4pm
March 16th 10am - 2pm

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Don’t forget to care for yourself while caring for others.

For those who work in the health care industry, caring for patients can sometimes take priority over caring for yourself. If you work in the patient transfer industry, you know firsthand how physically demanding your job can be. If you find yourself burning out from the physical and mental demands of your job, try these simple and effective self-care techniques. 

Caring for patients can be extremely fulfilling but also physically demanding. Taking care of yourself is very important. Following these simple self-care tips can go a long way in preventing worker burnout. Try these self-care tips and share them with your friends and coworkers!

Works cited:

https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/responders.asp

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-at-work.htm

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On The Road Again: How to safely transport an Alzheimer’s and dementia passenger

January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. People with Alzheimer’s often have difficulty traveling as new environments or new routines may agitate them. Whether a trip will be successful with an Alzheimer’s passenger will depend on how far he or she has progressed in their illness. Here are some steps that a caregiver or transport service provider can take in order to accommodate an Alzheimer’s or dementia passenger:

1. Figure out the best mode of travel: decide what would be the most comfortable way for the person to travel. Take familiar routes so that the person will be more at ease.

2. Avoid peak hours: avoiding peak hours will reduce stress for the driver and stimuli for the person.

3. Prepare the person in advance: let the person know that he/she will be getting into a vehicle to go somewhere. Do not overwhelm him/her with too much information.

4. Seat selection: have the person sit in the backseat as opposed to the front. This prevents him/her from grabbing the steering wheel while you are driving.

5. Have a bag of essentials: have a bag ready that includes medication, activities and a change of clothing. Have water and snacks ready as dehydration can worsen the person’s symptoms.

6. Play calming music: many people suffering from dementia find music soothing.

7. Never leave the person alone in the car: never leave a person suffering from dementia alone in the car.

8. Lock all doors: lock all doors that the person can have access to. Be sure that he/she cannot unlock the doors from their side. If available, use the child safety lock.

9. Make sure that the seat belt is buckled: always be sure the person is securely buckled in. If the person attempts to take off his/her seatbelt, turn the seatbelt inside out so that it is more difficult to get to the buckle.

10. Park on a flat surface: parking your vehicle on a flat surface will ensure that the person can exit safely. Make sure there are no icy patches or wet spots that the person can slip in.

Transporting a person suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia will require thoughtful planning. It will take getting used to. You will eventually find what works best for you to transfer the person safely to their destination.

*the steps listed serve merely as a guide. Always consult a health care professional if you are unsure of how to transfer a passenger with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Works cited:

http://www.alzcompend.info/?p=133

http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/Living-with-dementia/Day-to-day-living/Driving-and-transportation/Travelling-by-car

http://audi-a6.org/a-guide-to-transport-a-person-with-alzheimers-by-car-the-safe-way/

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Daily Bread Food Bank Donation

Spectrum Patient Services recently had the pleasure of donating 450 pounds of food to Daily Bread Food Bank. Not only did our Toronto crew dress up in festive hats, but we also decked out our ambulance with bows and holiday lights hung to celebrate the holiday season. The Daily Bread Food Bank provides food to almost 200 food programs across Toronto and has been a valuable resource in fighting poverty in the community. 
 

 

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Are you prepared to save a life?

It’s CPR Awareness Month! The campaign challenges all individuals to get their CPR training so that we can work together to save more lives. We’ve put together some frequently asked questions about CPR and CPR training:

1.What does CPR stand for?

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The term cardio refers to the heart, and pulmonary refers to the lungs. CPR is the same as Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS). CPR is a combination of breathing and chest compressions (Prepare First Aid Training).

2.What are the 3 steps of CPR?

Remember CAB:

C: do chest compressions

A: check the airway

B: do rescue breathing

Source: Kids Health

3.When should someone use CPR?

The steps in CPR (compressions, airway, and breathing) should be used whenever someone is not breathing and when the heart is not beating.

Someone can stop breathing and/or have cardiac arrest from:

  • heart attacks
  • strokes (when the blood flow to a part of the brain suddenly stops)
  • choking on something that blocks the entire airway
  • near-drowning incidents (when someone is underwater for too long and stops breathing)
  • a very bad neck, head, or back injury
  • severe electrical shocks (like from touching a power line)
  • being very sick from a serious infection
  • too much bleeding
  • severe allergic reactions
  • swallowing a drug or chemical

Source: Kids Health

4.Why is learning CPR important?

Learning CPR is easy and inexpensive. The short time it takes to learn CPR could make a real difference to someone’s life. Since most cardiac arrests happen at home, you could be saving the life of a friend or family member. (Canadian Red Cross)

5.How can I become CPR certified?

Check out the Canadian Red Cross website to find a course near you.

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The Flu and You!

This time of year brings on runny noses, scratchy throats, coughs and body aches of the seasonal flu. Recognizing the symptoms early on and knowing what to do if you get sick will help you get back on your feet much quicker. Here are some answers to your frequently asked questions about the flu:

What are some symptoms?

Symptoms usually start 1 to 4 days after exposure to the virus. In most adults, the flu lasts 2 to 10 days. It sometimes lasts longer for the elderly, children and people with chronic illnesses.

You may have the flu if you experience:

  • fever
  • chills
  • cough
  • runny eyes
  • stuffy nose
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • extreme weakness and tiredness
  • some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults

What can I do if I get sick?

If infected, be sure to:

  • stay home and get plenty of rest
  • drink lots of fluids
  • avoid drinks with caffeine
  • take basic pain or fever relievers
  • treat muscle pain using a hot water bottle or heating pad — apply heat for short periods of time
  • take a warm bath
  • gargle with a glass of warm salt water or suck on hard candy or lozenges
  • use spray or saline drops for a stuffy nose
  • avoid alcohol and tobacco

Still not feeling better? You may need to call your doctor or health care provider if:

  • you don’t start to feel better after a few days
  • your symptoms get worse
  • you are in a high-risk group and develop flu symptoms

Source: Ontario Flu Facts

Did we miss any tips that you use? Share your tips for avoiding the flu on Twitter @Spectrum_HC or on our Facebook page.

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The Invisible Injuries of First Responders

First responders are rewarded for their bravery, courage and effort towards keeping our communities safe. They are faced with extreme situations which can sometime result in personal injury. We often recognize their physical injuries such as broken bones or cuts and bruises ­but we tend to forget about the injuries first responders may face to their mental well-being.

Research has shown that first responders including paramedics, police and firefighters have a greater risk for Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), with statistics showing that an estimated 22% of all paramedics may develop PTSD (Suicide Info).  

Today is World Mental Health Day. We’d like to encourage you to make yourselves aware of the signs and symptoms related to PTSD and ASD.

Know the signs

Being aware of the signs and symptoms of PTSD and ASD will help you better identify and support yourself, your coworkers or your loved ones. Some common symptoms and behaviours include:

  • Dissociation from the self - emotional numbing, reduced awareness of one's surroundings, depersonalization, amnesia
  • Re-experiencing the traumatic event (spontaneous memories; flashbacks)
  • Avoiding distressing thoughts, feelings, or external reminders of the event
  • Blaming self or others due to distorted sense of reality
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Inability to remember key aspects of the traumatic event
  • Aggressive, reckless, or self-destructive behavior
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Hyper-vigilance

Source: Suicide Info.

Where to go for help

Check out the resources below to learn where you can to turn for help:

Suicide prevention

  • Find a local crisis centre here.  

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

  • Find mental health information, tools and resources here.

211.ca 

  • Canada’s primary source of information on government and community based health and social services

Mental Health First Aid

  • The MHFA Canada program aims to improve mental health literacy, and provide the skills and knowledge to help people better manage potential or developing mental health problems in themselves, a family member, a friend or a colleague
  • Call toll free: 1-866-989-3985

Drugs and Alcohol Helpline

  • Call toll free: 1-800-565-8603

For more, visit Global News resources.

Know of other helpful mental health resources? Share them with us on Twitter at @SPS_SEMS.

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What do you know about concussions?

The summer has come to an end, kids are back in school and team sports are starting up again. Along with the risk of various other injuries, concussions are a frequent concern for individuals playing sports. Concussions can happen in a variety of different ways and the effects can vary for every person.

Determining whether or not you’ve had a concussion can be difficult. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms to ensure a better road to recovery. The following graphics from Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital provide information on what concussions are, signs and symptoms and how to best support yourself or your loved ones for recovery.

What is a concussion?

What are the signs and symptoms?

How can you recover from a concussion?

Educate yourself to make this upcoming school year a fun and safe time for you, your kids and those you care for!

 

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Bicycling Street Smarts 101

The summer weather is not over yet and there’s still lots of time to put your bike to use! Whether you use your bike to commute to work, for exercise, or just for fun, road safety rules are essential to know for safe bike riding.

Around 7,500 Canadian cyclists are seriously injured on their bikes every year (CAA). Biking is both environmentally and economically friendly, however without knowledge of safe riding rules, it can be dangerous for both the riders and other drivers on the road.  Here are some bike safety tips from Greatist to help keep you and your loved ones safe:

Rules of the Road

  • Bike on the road in the same direction as traffic. Even though they lack a motor, bicycles are considered road vehicles just like cars and trucks.
  • Stop at red lights and stop signs, and obey other traffic signs (i.e. one-way street, yield, etc.), just like you would in a car.
  • Use marked bike paths or lanes when they’re available.

Safety Gear

Prepare yourself with the following pieces of safety equipment before starting your ride:

  • Helmet
  • Bell or horn
  • White headlight and red taillight when riding around sunrise, sunset, or at night
  • Working brakes
  • Reflectors on the front and back of the bicycle

Good Habits for Busy Streets

  • Put down the phone. We shouldn’t even need to say this, but talking on the phone, texting, or checking Instagram while biking are major no-nos. Also refrain from listening to headphones because they can make it more difficult to hear approaching cars and pedestrians.
  • Ride in a straight line.
  • Stay on the right side of the lane, in a single-file line with other cyclists (not two or three abreast). If the street is too narrow for cars to pass, cyclists are allowed to ride in the middle of the lane to increase visibility. Keep an eye out for parked cars (or rather, doors from parked cars opening into the street).
  • Stay out of drivers’ blind spots, especially at traffic lights or stop signs.
  • Always keep at least one hand on the handlebars.
  • Signal well and make eye contact with drivers before making a turn or slowing down.
  • Stay visible. Wear bright colours for daytime riding and reflective materials for night.
  • Consider sporting a mirror to keep track of cars behind you.
  • Travel with a mini tool kit. If your trek is more than 10 minutes or down a lonely stretch of road, you’ll thank us. Take the time to learn how to do a few quick repairs in advance of any big rides so you don’t get stranded!

And lastly, don’t forget to have fun! Biking is all about enjoying the great outdoors, so don't forget to smile while you signal.

Happy cycling!

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