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Emergency Medicine with a Personal Touch

ED PatientWhen it comes to medical emergencies, you can trust that you or a loved one will be in the right hands at UVMC today. 

The Emergency Department professionals at Upper Valley are more highly credentialed and have access to more advanced technology than ever before.

The ED physicians, while local doctors, are part of a national provider of emergency medicine. They and the highly experienced nursing team have continued to raise the bar in the UVMC ED to assure safe, effective emergency services that patients expect and deserve. From solid relationships with area emergency squads to advanced triage protocols to get patients the care they need more quickly, the dedicated ED team is ready to handle most any emergency need.

And as part of the Premier Health (Premier) network, UVMC has the advantage of important direct access to trauma center emergency services at other Premier facilities if needed.            

As Dee Mullen, RN,BSH,MHA, director of Emergency Services at UVMC, said, “We treat any emergency here, and if a patient needs to be transported, we are able to do that quickly and smoothly.”

In an emergency, it is most important to get to the nearest hospital ED and let the medical professionals make the life-saving decisions.

“Even if it requires cardiac intervention or a trauma center, we are very efficient at stabilizing the patient and arranging the transfer should it be needed,” said Ivy Thoman, RN,MS,ACNS,CEN, clinical nurse specialist. 

Reducing Wait Times

A new initiative at the UVMC ED called Pull ‘til Full has emphasized that triage (determining medical priority) is a process, not a location. “We triage the patients while they are waiting. So the lab results can be ready and waiting when the doctor sees them. This speeds up the process,” said Cheryl Meyer, RN,MSN, Nursing Team Manager.

“We implemented this about a year ago, and it has been a huge patient satisfier.”

Closely related to the Pull ‘til Full initiative is Advanced Triage Protocols now used at UVMC. While patients are waiting, certain treatments can start. There is a pre-approved list of orders for specific ailments that can be done in order to hasten the patient’s experience in the ED.

Less dire cases are routed to Minor Care. “For those patients who fall into the category of minor injuries or illnesses, we send them to Minor Care where they will be treated quickly. The type of conditions seen at Minor Care include rashes, fevers, sore throat, ear aches, pink eye, sprained ankles,” explained Mullen.

UVMC works with the area emergency squads to provide them education and training and help squad members maintain and update their certification. This is an important service because many patients arrive via ambulance, and a good working relationship with the various squads’ personnel makes the whole process more efficient for the patient and the ED staff.

ED RNMany people are familiar with the expression “Time is muscle” when discussing a heart attack. The time it takes to open up the blockage and restore blood flow is crucial in saving heart muscle. This should begin at the nearest hospital. The professionals at UVMC are trained to make the difficult decisions of whether to admit a patient or transfer the patient.

As part of Premier, UVMC has an established working relationship with Miami Valley and Good Samaritan hospitals. Should a patient need to be taken to either of these hospitals, transfer via CareFlight, mobile ICU or other emergency transport can quickly be arranged. 

UVMC also has its own patient transport ambulances stationed at the ED for use as needed.

All the physicians at UVMC’s Emergency Department are Board Certified in emergency medicine, or Board eligible, noted David Cohen, MD, Medical Director of the ED. 

The nursing staff is ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certified. The staff is also PALS (pediatric advanced life support) certified. UVMC has a collaborative agreement with Children’s Medical Center in Dayton to provide clinical expertise in advance practice pediatric nursing.  

“We see a lot of pediatric cases. In fact, 17 percent of our visits are pediatric. For pediatric cases that are less severe, we can admit them right here,” said Thoman.  “We have a very good relationship with Children’s in Dayton, and can facilitate emergency transport if a higher level of pediatric care is needed.” 

The ED staff has received HazMat training and is required to complete annual competencies throughout the year. “There is quite a bit of learning going on here all year long,” said Thoman.

An electronic medical record system called EPIC recently integrated at UVMC has helped to make the ED more efficient.  In addition to enhanced direct communication with hospital departments and other providers, primary care physicians and specialists can have the option of linking into EPIC to see first hand what their patients are experiencing in the ED. EPIC virtually ties all the parties together with the click of a mouse.

Technology is an important tool, but it is the experienced ED professionals at UVMC that make the care. If added together, the years of experience available in UVMC’s ED add up to over 640. With this experience come wisdom and discernment. Often confidence, familiarity and common sense in an uncommon and often, uncomfortable, unfamiliar environment are reassuring attributes. 

Along with the medical caregivers, licensed social workers are available in the ED round-the-clock to provide assessment and support for potential behavioral health patients and assist with others experiencing emotional distress.   

In Miami County and the surrounding communities, advanced technology and medical expertise are a given, but it’s the people who define the quality of life, values and priorities. And it’s the people who define the culture at UVMC.

“It’s literally family and friends caring for family and friends,” said Meyer. “There’s a small-town warmth and genuine caring here that you might not find elsewhere. That’s what people are going to see and feel at our ED.”

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