PMC receives certification as an ER trauma facility


TRAUMA CERTIFICATION  — Ruth Erickson, director of ambulance services, and Laura Erickson RN, trauma coordinator at the Pondera Medical Center, hold a plaque in the ER Room showing the hospital has been designated continuous certification as a Trauma Receiving Facility. I-O Photo by Buck Traxler




Pondera Medical Center (PMC) recently received continued certification as a Trauma Receiving Facility from the Montana Department of Health and Human Services.

In March 2009, the hospital met state and federal requirements proving its readiness and training to respond to patients with trauma injuries, receiving a one year certification as a Trauma Receiving Facility.

The PMC recently completed a trauma report to the state and received full trauma designation status effective through March 2012.

All of the Emergency Room staff has received Advanced Trauma training that focuses on a systematic, standardized approach to care of the injured patient, which significantly reduces patient mortality.

Dr. Peter Barran serves as the Trauma Medical Director and oversees the trauma program at PMC. The physicians and mid-level providers have all received certification in Advanced Trauma Life Support.

“This designation is evidence of a commitment to improved care of trauma patients, quality assurance, involvement in injury prevention programs, and adherence to regional trauma planning,” said Laura Erickson, RN, and Trauma Coordinator.

She went on to say, “This level of training among our emergency staff means those patients and their families can count on their local hospital and medical professionals for specialized care when the need is most critical. Achieving Trauma designation benefits everyone who lives in or visits Pondera County. With this designation, every action taken by the staff is designed to improve survivability and outcomes.”

Injury is the leading cause of death for Americans aged one through 44. Pondera Medical Center’s Emergency Department cared for 1,942 patients in 2009.

The Montana Trauma System, a statewide system through the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, is designed to respond quickly and effectively within the “golden hour,” the time period when medical intervention is most effective in saving lives and saving function.

One of the requirements for receiving trauma designation status is the development of trauma activation criteria. Erickson reports that early recognition and mobilization of resources prior to the trauma patient arriving at the hospital helps provide efficient care and provides the best patient outcome.

To obtain Trauma Receiving Facility designation status a comprehensive assessment of what happens to the trauma patient from the 911 call to the patient leaving the Emergency Room is completed.

The county is fortunate to have a dedicated ambulance service that is continually improving the level of care that they provide.

The ambulance services are under the direction of Ruth Erickson and they have shown continued commitment to emergency care. A few years ago they were a basic ambulance service now they have obtained several endorsements that allow the crew to start intravenous fluids, provide medications and perform emergency airway intervention. It is crucial that injured patients receive early treatment for their injuries.

Laura Erickson’s role as Trauma Coordinator oversees the entire program. Part of her job is to review all trauma patient care and complete a trauma registry report to the State Trauma Program where trauma cases that qualify for the registry program are reviewed .PMC also is part of the Central Montana Regional Trauma Committee where they attend quarterly meetings and discuss trauma specific concerns for the region. Coordination with other regional trauma providers helps PMC to provide the most efficient care possible.

Community education as it relates to trauma is the other requirement for trauma designation status.

Laura Erickson and Ruth Erickson are members of The Buckle Up Montana Coalition, which is coordinated by the Pondera County Health Department.

The message is simple it just takes a second to buckle. L. Erickson stated “Trauma changes a family forever, PMC is committed to providing the best trauma care for our community.”