The Minnesota Department of Health recently re-designated Mille Lacs Health System as a Level IV Trauma hospital. MLHS and staff voluntarily participated in the intense designation process to become part of Minnesota’s statewide trauma system. The process included an outside review of the hospital’s resources and capabilities to care for trauma patients. MLHS met standards of commitment, clinical and equipment resources, and staff training. The health system also participates in a continuous performance improvement process.
As a Level IV Trauma center, all the resources are not available 24/7 that a larger trauma center would have, such as an orthopedic or trauma surgeon. However, patients are quickly evaluated, stabilized and if necessary, transferred to a higher level of care. “All providers and nurses have specialized trauma education to work in the ER, and trauma cases are peer reviewed to make sure we are offering the highest quality of trauma care available,” said MLHS Emergency Department Manager Catherine Steiner. “It also means we have transfer agreements with burn centers, level I trauma centers and have trauma team activations to have all important staff available quickly for a trauma.” MLHS works in conjunction with other trauma centers and the Regional Trauma Advisory Council to constantly evaluate and improve the trauma care provided.
For a severely injured or critically ill person, the time between sustaining an injury and receiving definitive care is the most important predictor of survival, and is called the “golden hour.” A trauma system enhances the chance of survival regardless of proximity to an urban trauma hospital. Level IV trauma and emergency staff are trained to quickly evaluate and stabilize the patient.
For Minnesotans, ages 1 to 44, trauma is the leading cause of death. Overall, trauma is the fourth leading cause of death for Minnesotans, with falls and traffic accidents the main causes. Sixty-eight percent of motor vehicle accidents that have fatal outcomes occur in rural Minnesota.
“This is why keeping our trauma designation is an important element in our goal to provide the very best care to everyone coming to us for care, whether they’re our patients or visitors to the area,” said Bill Nelson, MLHS CEO. “We are extremely proud of the competence our emergency team demonstrates.”