Meet the Crew: Adam Carr
3 January 2018
Each month, we’d like to introduce you to a new member of our Crew.
This month it’s the turn of Adam Carr, Critical Care Paramedic and Patient Liaison Manager. As well as being one of the faces of our Keep in Touch campaign, Adam was recently awarded the prestigious Air Ambulance Paramedic of the Year Award at the Air Ambulance Association Awards of Excellence.
Adam Carr wanted to be a Paramedic from the age of 15. Working as a lifeguard, he was fascinated by the first aid training he received and when a visitor had a cardiac arrest on the squash courts, Adam helped to run his first scene.
“It was one of those moments where it all clicks” Adam recalls
“I knew that being a Paramedic was what I wanted to do.”
After college, Adam’s career took him to the NHS. Not old enough to join the Ambulance Service, he found himself as a hospital healthcare assistant, before joining the Service at the age of 23, qualifying within two years to be a Paramedic.
After growing through the ranks – from Paramedic to working as a mentor, and then a station supervisor – Adam joined the Hazardous Area Response Team for three years, as well as working for Magpas Air Ambulance, before joining Essex & Herts Air Ambulance four years ago as a Critical Care Paramedic.
In 2017 Adam became one of two of the Charity’s Critical Care Paramedics to take on the new role of Patient Liaison Manager. Adam’s role is now split 50/50 between clinical and office-based work, with his office focus being the welfare of former patients and their families.
“We describe this as the ‘softer side of HEMS” Adam explains “HEMS is very aggressive, and this role is about coming back and thinking about the patient experience before, during, and after the incident with a more critical eye. That means we can improve ourselves and, most importantly, support our patients and their families through a difficult time.”
As a Patient Liaison Manager, Adam has put extra time and care into finding the right resources for patients and their families. “A huge part of the job is signposting” he admits “there are hundreds of fantastic organisations and charities I didn’t even know existed until I started doing this job, and I’ve been in the clinical world for 19 years. Our aim is to link up patients and families to what’s for them – whether that’s Headway who support people after brain injuries, the Road Victims Trust which specialises in helping families after fatal road traffic collisions – it’s our duty to get that right.”
Answering patient questions is central to Adam’s new role, and with that, he’s been asking more questions of himself and of the team: “I think you need to have been a HEMS Critical Care Paramedic to fulfil the role the way that we do. We’ve performed those interventions, we’ve spoken to families on scene, we have a clear idea of what’s going on in that moment, but this role has made me rethink the way I act on scene. It’s made me more aware of the importance of the little things – making sure we get as much accurate patient information as possible before we anaesthetise them, getting relevant next of kin details where we can, ensuring that we’re keeping the patient warm and maintaining their dignity. These are things we already thought about as a team, but it’s definitely made us a lot sharper to the patient experience, and hopefully it means that we can change our practises to ensure we’re a more holistic HEMS team.”
Adam’s colleague, Patient Liaison Manager Tony Stone says: “Adam truly is a fantastic colleague to work with. As a HEMS Paramedic, he puts patients and their families first in all he does. Adam has a massive heart and treats everyone from patients to fundraisers with the utmost care and compassion.
We have worked very closely together developing our Patient Liaison role and it is a privilege to work with him and to benefit from his significant pre-hospital care experience.”
Following 19 years in the NHS, Adam feels he is at the “pinnacle” of his career with the Charity:
“When you join the Ambulance service, you want to deliver the best pre-hospital care you can. The best part, in that sense, about being on the Air Ambulance is that you know you are providing the highest level of pre-hospital care. If the worst does happen, I can still stand by the fact that the team have done everything we possibly can.”
His next goal is to establish the Patient Liaison Manager role. Although the team are already seeing a difference in the way they act on scene, the feedback they receive, and an improved relationship with past patients and their families, Adam is keen to continue learning and expanding upon this role.
“We want to make a big difference” he summarises “to patients, to their families and loved ones, and to our team. Everyone should be allowed a sense of closure, and I think we’re going to be able to provide that.”