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Seamless Care from First Responders to Recovery

Teamwork is an essential element of optimal trauma care and outcomes.  There are many phases of trauma care beginning with the ďon-sceneĒ response and treatment, through the Emergency Department resuscitation, operative, critical, medical-surgical, and rehabilitative care services.

From the time of injury to the patientís arrival to our Trauma Center, time is precious.  Excellent communication and skill levels of ground ambulance crews and aero medical crews are critical for quality patient care.  Not only do the first-responders provide immediate care for the injured, but also maintain safety for themselves and other bystanders as well.  Primary objectives in pre-hospital care are prevention of further damage, effective triage, and rapid transport to the appropriate level of care. Working together with the first responders, our trauma team at Sacred Heart helps to coordinate transportation services and ensure that the proper information is relayed to the attending physicians to make sure that our team is prepared to receive the injured patient.

Upon arrival to the Trauma Center, the patient is rapidly assessed and treated in a coordinated, collaborative approach by all team members.  This team consists of  a trauma surgeon, an emergency medicine physician, a trauma physician assistant, one or two nurses, a patient care technician, a respiratory therapist, and, if the patient is under the age of 16, a pediatric intensive care specialist and/or resident. Depending on the patientís injuries, other specialists may also be called in to consult and provide treatment.  Communication with the family during the resuscitation, and throughout the continuum of care, is provided by members of the pastoral care and social services teams.

After initial resuscitation, the trauma patient may need an operation.  Sacred Heart Hospitalís main operating room consists of 14 general/vascular/orthopedic rooms and four neurosurgical rooms.  It lies directly underneath the helicopter pad for direct access, if needed, and there is always a reserved surgical room readily available for trauma patients, which can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week at a momentís notice.

Critical Care
When adults and children are severely injured, they may need to be admitted to the Adult Critical Care Unit (ACCU) or the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for very close observation.  The patientís care will be led by the trauma surgeon, but may also involve consultation with critical care specialists. Our multi-disciplinary care team will be consulted to provide a care plan that meets each patientís individual needs. 

Medical-Surgical Care
Many trauma patients may not need critical care and are admitted directly to the Medical-Surgical Units at Sacred Heart Hospital. In addition, some patients may be transferred from the critical care unit to these units after his or her condition has stabilized.  This is where the planning process for the next step in care begins.  The trauma patient may be discharged from the hospital to home or to rehabilitation. 

Rehabilitation begins on admission, and continues throughout the acute care phase.  Physical, occupational, and speech therapists all help the patient to return to their most optimal level of functioning.  The family also plays a very important role in teaching, discharge planning, and reintegration of the patient back into society.

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More Information
For more information on trauma services at Sacred Heart Hospital, please call the Trauma Office at (850) 416-7173 or the Trauma Clinic at (850) 416-6159.

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