When emergency medical services (EMS) are needed, the choice of transport depends on several factors. These may include the patient’s medical condition, transport accessibility to the accident site and the receiving hospital’s resources. Emergency care research is advancing, but little is known about the patient’s perspective of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS).
The aim of this study was to describe trauma patients’ experiences of HEMS.
Thirteen persons (ages 21–76) were interviewed using an interview guide. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.
The analysis resulted in three themes: Being distraught and dazed by the event – patients experienced shock and tension, as well as feelings of curiosity and excitement. Being comforted by the caregivers – as the caregivers were present and attentive, they had no need for relatives in the helicopter. Being safe in a restricted environment – the participants’ injuries were taken seriously and the caregivers displayed effective teamwork.
For trauma patients to be taken seriously and treated as ‘worst cases’ enables them to trust their caregivers and ‘hand themselves over’ to their care. HEMS provide additional advantageous circumstances, such as being the sole patient and having proximity to a small, professional team.