LUMBERTON — Southeastern Regional Medical Center is about to change how its procedure for responding to trauma patients.
Code Trauma went into effect Monday at the center, which is operated by Southeastern Health. This new approach for organizing how different departments activate and serve patients arriving with severe injuries is designed to create a more effective response system and improve patient outcomes.
“We want the community to know we are making great efforts to ensure that trauma patients are cared for as quickly and effectively as possible,” said Keenya Locklear, SRMC Emergency Services coordinator and one of the leaders of the new initiative. “Each department involved has goals regarding the speed of delivery for their services.”
The new system was designed by a committee that included nurses, providers, and other interdisciplinary team members from inside and outside the hospital.
Experts from Duke University Hospital’s Level 1 Trauma Center Regional Advisory Committee also have been heavily involved in the planning of the new process and have helped with providing additional trauma classes for nurses and providers.
“We have a great partnership with Duke’s Regional Advisory Committee and Georgina Durst, the Duke RAC coordinator,” said Natalie Russ, the center’s Emergency Services Unit manager. “They assist us with knowledge opportunities, connections to resources and standard processes. They have arranged opportunities for us to offer local Trauma Nursing Core Courses and Rural Trauma Courses to our nurses, residents and doctors, in order to prepare our staff to serve our patients efficiently. We review case studies with them on our trauma transfers to evaluate areas of opportunity and reflect on the standards of which we should be proud.”
Code Trauma starts with relaying the news of incoming trauma patients as an overhead announcement throughout the hospital so multiple departments can be ready at the patient’s bedside when they arrive, or just outside their door. When advance warning isn’t possible, the new code allows for some departments to prioritize requests and streamline the immediate procedures and paperwork so that services like blood, X-rays, and CT scans can be given as quickly as possible.
The code, which can be called as either Trauma Red or Trauma Yellow, can be activated by paramedics in the field, dispatchers handling calls, or an Emergency Department charge nurse or physician.
The difference between the red and yellow trauma codes is mainly based on whether the Emergency Department will need blood for a patient.
“A Trauma Red patient may have suffered blood loss, so we need to be prepared as quickly as possible to have blood products ready for transfusion,” said Sonja Hilburn, Emergency Services director. “The Trauma Red code will set that in motion before a provider needs to enter the order.”
The medical center sees an average of 65,000 patients a year in the emergency room, which has four beds dedicated for trauma patients. Between Jan. 1 and April 30 of this year, 1,968 patients arrived by ambulance with some sort of trauma. This number does not include the number of trauma patients who arrived in personal vehicles.
Amanda L. Crabtree is the Public Relations coordinator for Southeastern Health.