Trauma Systems Save Lives
Inland Valley Medical Center is the only designated Trauma Center in southwest Riverside county, and is one of several elements in the county's trauma system designed to provide a seamless continuum of care to patients. The county trauma network also includes the 911 telephone system, ambulance crews and other pre-hospital care providers. These services provide immediate and highly specialized treatment for people who have life-threatening injuries. Trauma systems also include rehabilitation and other post-hospital care, as well as trauma prevention education.
In Southwest Riverside County, Inland Valley Medical Center is the only hospital designated a Trauma Center by the county's Emergency Services Agency. Specially trained physicians and other healthcare providers at Inland Valley perform immediate assessment, resuscitation, emergency surgery and stabilization of trauma patients.
A common misconception is that hospital trauma care is only provided in the Emergency Department. In fact, trauma care is considered a surgical specialty and may require the resources of virtually every facet of a hospital's operations.
Trauma surgeons provide the foundation for Inland Valley's trauma care and typically direct the overall care of the injured patient. Surgical suites can be fully staffed and equipped for emergency surgery within minutes.
Physicians staffing the Emergency Department 24-hours a day are emergency medicine specialists trained in advance cardiac life support (ACLS). Full-time registered nurses in the Emergency Department also have training in ACLS, along with Trauma Nursing Care Certification (TNCC), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Mobile Intensive Care Nurse certifications. As a designated Paramedic Base Station, Emergency Department physicians and nurses can begin providing care even before the patient's hospital arrival by using a special radio link to paramedics and other emergency aid personnel in the field.
In the Intensive Care Unit, registered nurses trained in critical care medicine and advanced life support coordinate the trauma patient's nursing care. Many of these nurses also hold national certification in their nursing specialty. Additional nursing care for trauma patients is available throughout the hospital.
Non-nursing care providers may include respiratory therapists, radiologic technologists and laboratory technicians. They work closely with physicians and nurses to provide key therapeutic or diagnostic services to trauma patients. Physical therapists and other rehabilitation specialists help maximize a patient's recovery from trauma with both inpatient and outpatient programs.
An emergency helipad at Inland Valley provides a landing area for helicopter ambulances to provide swift transportation to the hospital and to other hospitals as necessary.
Behind the Scenes
Many more trauma services and staff remain behind the scenes at Inland Valley. For example, obstetrics nursing staff may be called on to care for a pregnant woman injured in an auto accident. Performance improvement committees regularly devise ways to fine-tune trauma care. Physicians and nurses help ambulance crews and firefighters hone medical skills, and meet monthly with county officials to review and update trauma system policies and procedures.
One in 12 deaths is the result of trauma, according to the American College of Surgeons. Injury is the leading cause of death up to age 44. Up to age 34, trauma kills more people than all diseases combined.
In southwest Riverside County, motor vehicle accidents cause the vast majority of trauma treated at Inland Valley, while falls are the second leading cause of injury. You can reduce or prevent trauma by taking simple precautions:
- When riding in a vehicle, make sure you and other passengers wear your seat belt at all times.
- Wear an approved safety helmet and other protective equipment whenever biking, riding or skating. While playing sports, make sure you wear protective equipment designed for that activity. Don't forget to wear eye protection whenever necessary.
- Never drink alcohol while operating equipment or engaging in physical or recreational activity.
- Never leave children unsupervised for even a moment around a pool, spa, bathtub, toilet, bucket of water or standing water.
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