Our patients have many questions as they enter the Reading Hospital. We have tried to address some common ones:
1. What is a trauma center?
A trauma center is specialized in treating patients with injuries after physical trauma. Trauma can be defines as blunt injuries from motor vehicle crashes, motorcycle crashes, or falls. It can also be penetrating trauma from gunshots or stabbings.
A trauma center is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by experienced trauma surgeons, emergency staff, specially trained operative teams and nursing staff. Additonal physician specialists such as orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, vascular surgeons are also immediately available for consultive care.
2. What are the levels of Trauma Centers?
The American College of Surgeons has defined four levels of trauma centers depending on available resources:
LEVEL I: As a regional resource center, Level I institutions provide leadership in education and research. They are often large university based centers able to maintain a high level of advanced care with resourced personnel and comprehensive services to provide initial and ongoing trauma care to complex injured patients.
Level II: As a resource center, the Level II institution is also capable of providing advanced care to the complex injured patient. Usually an urban or suburban community medical center they may not have all the comprehensive services as a Level I Center, however continue as leaders in educations and advanced care.
Level III: Community trauma centers are located in an area that do not have a Level I or Level II Center. Thier committment to the trauma system is to provide prompt resuscitation and stablization of injured patients and arranging for transfer to a high level of care at a Level I or Level II Center.
Level IV: Smaller access hospitals will not have the surgical support necessary for a defined trauma program. The committment of a Level IV hospital is to provide resuscitation and prompt transfer to a Level I or Level II Center for ongoing care.
3. What can I expect upon arrival as a family member of a patient being resuscitated in the trauma bay?
Traumatic injuries are seldomed planed and our goal is to make sure you are kept informed and supported through the emergency phase of care. When you arrive at the Emergency Department a Chaplain from the hospital's Pastorial Care Department will seat you in our family room adjacent to the trauma bays. He will work with the trauma team to provide you with intial information about your loved one. The Chaplains are here to provide you with support, help get in touch with other family members, and respond to your emotional needs. You will not able to see your family member until the resuscitation is complete. At that time a member of the trauma team will sit and discuss the patient's condition and treatment plan with you.
You may be asked about your loved one's medical history including medications and other illness so we can provide the best care possible. A registration clerk will obtain patient information such as their address, date of birth, family doctor, and insurance information. If your family member is transported to another area, the Chaplain will escort you to the new location.