United Hatzalah, an Israeli emergency organization, has launched a new life-saving project which will train foreign old-age caretakers in Israel to provide first aid treatment to the people in their care in an emergency.
The course, which began this week in Tel Aviv, aims to improve the foreign workers’ first response capabilities significantly. It is a joint venture of United Hatzalah, a volunteer-based emergency medical services organization and Hakeren, the Israel Foreign Workers Fund.
The course also teaches the workers, many of whom do not speak Hebrew, how to adequately speak to medical personnel or emergency dispatchers to effectively communicate the critical information by phone.
Eli Beer, the President of United Hatzalah, explained that the new project focuses on the foreign worker population because “this is a group of people whose job definition includes being near sick and elderly people. The people who require their services are those who have a high risk of having a medical emergency requiring a quick first aid response. We are providing the participants with basic emergency medical training so that they will know what to do if an emergency occurs.”
Beer said the course also teaches the participants to relay the pertinent information to emergency dispatchers as fast as possible.
“We have noticed that in many cases, the language barrier of foreign workers impedes the transfer of information to emergency dispatchers. Sometimes the worker has trouble understanding the instructions given by the dispatcher, and in other cases, incorrect information has been given to the dispatcher. As part of the course, the foreign workers are being taught a few key points to remember when talking to dispatchers, and not just Israeli dispatchers, but dispatchers anywhere in the world,” he said.
Rag Wittlefora, a foreign worker from India who participated in the program, said the knowledge he acquired during the course was highly practical and will likely help him administer effective first aid treatment if he encounters a medical emergency in the future.
“I think that this course is something that all foreign workers who work with geriatric or ill people should take. We work with people’s fathers and mothers. Our employers are often people who sometimes suffer life-threatening conditions. The information we learned here is very practical and now we know what to do to save a life,” he said.