EKC teams up with EKFH in support of HART
It was a snowy winter day when the Fernie Hospital received a trauma patient who was involved in a motor vehicle collision on Highway 3.
He sustained multiple injuries including fractures and internal bleeding. The Fernie healthcare team did a fantastic job in stabilizing this patient but he needed to be transferred to a higher level of care and both STARS and BC Air Ambulance could not fly due to weather.
Before the development of the High Acuity Response Team (HART), a Physician and nurse from the Fernie Emergency Department would move this patient with BC Ambulance, at times leaving the hospital with no physician. In this case the HART along with BC Ambulance drove from Cranbrook to Fernie and transported this patient back to East Kootenay Regional Hospital (EKRH) where he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and received surgical care.
Rural doctors appreciate the service. “The introduction of HART supports the sustainability of medical services in rural communities outside of Cranbrook, as this will reduce the number of times nurses and physicians from rural health sites are required to leave their communities to assist in the transport of acutely ill patients.”
East Kootenay Health Region has a High Acuity Response Team (HART) made up of Critical Care nurses and Respiratory Therapists based out of the EKRH in Cranbrook.
This team works in partnership with BC Ambulance service (BCAS) to bring critical care support to rural hospitals, and when necessary, transport patients to a higher level of care. This includes bringing specialized monitoring equipment, medication administration, and clinicians providing advanced interventions at the patient’s bedside and during transport.
HART is involved in critical care ground transfer in the East Kootenay (EK) corridor, while BCAS air ambulance and STARS provide fixed wing and rotary service for patients requiring transport to Kelowna, Calgary, and Vancouver.
Last year EK HART was involved in the site care and transport of approximately 240 patients servicing Golden, Invermere, Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford, and Creston hospitals. They continue to work on building strong relationships with the rural sites with the aim at improving critical health care access in these smaller communities and preventing rural Physicians and Nurses from having to transport these patients.
When HART is not supporting critical care at a rural site, they are actively working at EKRH providing many functions including trauma team support, Emergency, Intensive Care, Pediatric, and critical care nursing.
Registered Nurse Izabella Brehm is excited to be a part of the EK HART. “We rely on great teamwork and collaboration between multiple organizations to ensure patients get the highest quality of health care. We have a lot of cutting edge portable equipment that allows us to do things we would normally do in a regional ICU out in a rural hospital or in the back of an ambulance.”
East Kootenay Community Credit Union (EKC) in conjunction with the East Kootenay Foundation for Health is currently launching a sponsorship funding campaign to raise money for specialized equipment so HART can continue to use the best, most current equipment and technology available.
EKC kicked off this campaign by donating $2.500 to HART. Please support the EK HART team, and support the health care in your community by donating to this campaign.
For more information please contact the East Kootenay Foundation for Health at 250-489-6481 or watch the video at EKCCU.COM to learn about the HART Program. Donations can be made in Elkford, Fernie, Sparwood and Cranbrook branch of EKC.
Lead image: Lana Shepard EKC Manager of Commercial Services, Eric Johnstone EKC Regional Branch Manager, Stephen Gort EKC Small Business Advisor, Brenna Baker EKFH, Glen Purdy EKFH Board of Directors, Kevin Jarva Patient Care Coordinator HART, Barb Nunes EKC Board Member. Photo submitted