The latest additions to Payson Regional Medical Center were formally introduced last Tuesday. Interim Chief Executive Officer Elmer Hyde met residents and business leaders at PRMC’s monthly Community Leadership Breakfast.
The real star of the show was the Emergency Department’s new designation as a rural trauma center.
Hyde just said hello and how impressed he was to see so much interest in the hospital from residents, then turned the session over to Chief Nursing Officer Hart Hintze and Carl Valenti, RN, director of nursing, emergency services.
PRMC earned the designation as a Level IV Trauma Center last November. The staff and facilities have been in action about 20 times a month since certification, said Dr. Paul Gilbert, MD, emergency department medical director.
Approximately 70 percent of patients admitted to PRMC come through the ER, Hintze said. About 60 percent of the emergency room patients do remain at PRMC and the hospital’s surveys of patients show that 97 percent would recommend the trauma center’s care to others, said Valenti.
The trauma staff focus on a rapid diagnosis and a referral to the appropriate care.
The frightening statistics related to injuries (trauma) prove the need for this special level of care. The injury statistics in the U.S. include:
• The fourth leading cause of death in all age groups
• The No. 1 cause of death in children, adolescents and young adults.
• The fifth leading cause of death over 65.
• Odds of dying from trauma increase by 6 percent annually after age 65.
• Falls account for 61 percent of injury in patients over 70 and 27 percent for all ages.
• Annually, trauma kills 170,000 Americans.
• The cost of treating falls will hit $55 billion annually by 2020.
People living in rural areas account for 60 percent of the trauma deaths from falls, although they account for only 20 percent of the nation’s population. Rural patients are more likely to die at the scene of survivable injuries when compared to urban areas due to delays in care, weather, distance, resources of lack of experience.
Additional delays in treatment stem from delayed discovery, summoning help, pre-hospital provider mobilization, pre-hospital response time, prolonged scene time and pre-hospital transport.
Valenti praised the emergency response time of Rim Country fire departments, ambulance service and air ambulances (helicopter).
The trauma certification preparation reflects improved response time among PRMC staff as well. When the emergency room doctors get the call from paramedics on the scene, they trigger an alert throughout the hospital to make sure the staff needed are waiting when the patient arrives.
Other steps taken for the Level IV Trauma certification included:
• All Payson emergency physicians are board certified in emergency medicine and Advanced Trauma Life Support.
• PRMC Emergency Department Registered Nurses are trained in trauma and will have advanced certification in Trauma Nursing by the Emergency Nurses Association.
• Nursing leadership has more than 22 years of experience in trauma center practice.
When PRMC was given its Level IV Trauma certification, no improvement in any area was recommended. In fact, the certifying team suggested PRMC move toward Level III Trauma certification, which requires more specialty trauma care physicians be available to the Emergency Department.
With the age of the population in the Rim Country, Valenti and others in the Emergency Department of PRMC can make presentations about injury prevention to clubs and organizations. A special program to educate the community’s youth about injury prevention is also launching soon.