by Contributor on Tuesday Aug 03 2010
Interior Health (IH) is pleased to announce the launch of High Acuity Response Teams (HARTs) this fall that will enhance transport and care needs of acutely ill patients throughout the health region.
These teams will consist of highly-trained critical care nurses responding with a BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) basic life support ambulance team to transport acutely ill patients from outlying rural and remote health sites to higher levels of care. In more complex cases, a respiratory therapist will be called in to assist.
“The new joint Interior Health and BCAS transportation model for acutely ill patients will improve care by providing region wide access to High Acuity Response Teams,” said Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon. “HART will bring a higher-level of acute care to patients and support them during transfers between facilities.”
HART nurses and respiratory therapists will be based at larger referral hospitals where they will support emergency departments and intensive care units when not involved in the transport of patients.
"Interior Health serves a large geographic area with a multitude of rural and remote health sites. This new service supports patient care at those sites and will ensure acutely ill patients who need a higher level of care are transported to the appropriate sites with highly-trained clinicians looking after them,” said Dr. Robert Halpenny, IH President and CEO. “Under medical direction, HARTs would either support the high acuity needs of the patient at the local rural site, or during transport of the patient to a higher level of care.”
“These teams represent a partnership between BCAS and Interior Health for high acuity inter-facility transfers. BCAS will continue to play a key role in the transport of acutely ill patients, by providing our expertise in ambulance transportation and logistics, while partnering with Interior Health who will provide the clinical support for their patients,” said Ralph Jones, Acting Director of Provincial Programs for BCAS
“We have been working collaboratively and I’m pleased with the steps we’ve been able to take in the interest of patients, while making the best use of our resources. BCAS provides the expertise in transport while Interior Health clinicians support the complex care needs of patients at the rural health facility and during transport to a higher level of care,” said Kelly Murphy, IH corporate director of medical affairs and clinical networks.
The creation of HARTs will support the sustainability of medical services in rural communities as this will reduce the number of times nurses and physicians from rural health sites are required to assist in transport of acutely ill patients.
“HARTs represent an added service to the region and addresses concerns raised by frontline clinicians. We know the loss of a nurse or physician for an extended period of time has a significant impact on the ability to maintain service when these nurses and physicians may be the only clinicians on duty serving the local community,” added Murphy.
Teams will start operating initially in the Thompson Cariboo Shuswap and Kootenay Boundary this fall, with the conversion of the current ad hoc Kamloops-based model and Trail-based Critical Care Transport Team model to HART. A Cranbrook-based team will commence operations in early 2011. Additional teams will be based at other IH referral sites in the future.
HART nurses will have critical care certification and extensive training for this specialty transport program. Training will be provided by the Justice Institute of BC.
In addition to the new HARTs, IH has dedicated a medical director to transportation services to further ensure communities across IH share the same high standards of quality care for inter-facility transports.