PULSE of NY Releases "When It's Appropriate to Call an Ambulance: a Policy for Young Mothers at MOMMAS House"

Patient Safety Group Helps Young Mothers Learn When to Call Emergency Help

As part of the work of the PULSE of NY Patient Safety Advisory Council, PULSE of NY staff visit MOMMAS House homes in Nassau County, which are residences for young mothers.  Ilene Corina, President of PULSE of NY and patient safety advocate, has been going to the homes and preparing the young women to visit their clinicians, write their medical histories, list their medications and communicate so they are listened to. 

When she found out that some of the girls were calling an ambulance to visit the doctor when they might not need to, Corina developed a curriculum that would help the girls at each house decide when it’s appropriate to call an ambulance.

"When people are thinking about an emergency before it happens, we can make a plan."

Ilene Corina, President, PULSE of NY

Read the “When to Call an Ambulance” policy here.

Corina talks to the girls about patient safety and then learns from them what are some of the obstacles they might come across.  Some feel they can’t choose a clinician because they don’t drive, or feel that they are not listened to.

Asking the Right Questions

What questions should people ask themselves when deciding whether to call an ambulance? Does the patient’s condition appear life-threatening? What does life-threatening look like to you? The girls at each house were asked a series of questions so they could decide what the answers might look like. “When people are thinking about an emergency before it happens, we can make a plan,” Ilene Corina explains.  She has worked with the girls on understanding healthcare proxies and their rights to speak up about their concerns in a respectful manner. 

“Preparing for a doctor’s visit means having information ready — information such as past medical history, symptoms, and questions to ask. It’s about being empowered,” Corina explains.

Paramedics Need Patient Info

Paramedic Kyle Schuessler, who also attended the visits, was able to share with the girls what it’s like to be a paramedic. He explained how important it is to have the patient’s medication information and medical history easily accessible, and why.   

“Of course we are not telling them not to call an ambulance,” Schuessler, an emergency room technician and paramedic, explains. “We want them to understand it is OK to call when it’s needed.”

For more information visit www.pulseofny.org

Support for this program is provided by The North Shore-LIJ Health System.

About MOMMAS House

MOMMAS is a home for young mothers aged 18 to 23 years and their babies. For approximately two years, the young mothers at MOMMAS House continue education or vocational experience interrupted by pregnancy. With guidance and direction, the young mothers can learn to support themselves and their children independently.

About the PULSE of NY Patient Safety Advisory Council

PULSE of NY, Patient Safety Advisory Council is an independent, community-based program representing disease-specific organizations, diverse socio-cultural groups and low literacy adults committed to incorporating patient safety into their organizations and programs.