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The Ottawa Hospital staff deliver rural trauma course

The Ottawa Hospital staff deliver rural trauma course

The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) became the second hospital in Ontario to run a Rural Trauma Team Development Course when I volunteered with two nurses and three doctors to train our peers plus paramedics at Renfrew Victoria Hospital last month.

I found they were really hungry for knowledge about how to handle trauma It’s a different reality than we work with here at TOH.

Rural hospitals see different types of injuries, such as hunting and logging accidents, snowmobile and ATV accidents, highway collisions at higher speeds and poorer visibility, and much longer times to get paramedic help or transfer to hospitals. The injuries can be more profound as well. Although rural areas experience 60 percent of trauma deaths, they have just 20 percent of the population.

At the same time, rural hospitals generally have fewer specialized staff; no 24/7 access to x-ray, surgery or anesthesia; fewer units of blood available; and much longer transportation times to TOH, which is the lead trauma hospital in the Champlain LHIN. Nearly half of TOH’s trauma patients last year were transferred from smaller hospitals, so it is in our interests to ensure the health-care professionals there are supported.

After St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto trained the TOH trainers, my colleagues and I delivered the course in Renfrew, teaching 26 nurses, doctors and paramedics how to stabilize trauma patients, identify the need for early transfer to TOH, build team cohesion, identify processes that need to be changed and encourage them to call TOH for support when necessary.

This course is unique because it’s hosted in the referring hospital to make the training as real to life as possible.

Our staff really stepped up. We want to give back because we know what it’s like in the field. The goal is to run the course at all 13 rural hospitals in the LHIN over the next few years.

Melissa Waggott, RN
Coordinator of Trauma Services
The Ottawa Hospital


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