What Is a Trauma
A trauma system
is an organized, coordinated effort in a defined geographic area that
delivers the full range of care to all injured patients and is integrated
with the local public health system. The true value of a trauma system
is derived from the seamless transition between each phase of care,
integrating existing resources to achieve improved patient outcomes.
Success of a trauma system is largely determined by the degree to which
it is supported by public policy.
Trauma systems are regionalized, making efficient use of health care
resources. Trauma systems are based on the unique requirements of the
population served, such as rural, inner-city, urban, or Native American
communities. Trauma systems must emphasize the prevention of injuries
in the context of community health. Ultimately, nationwide development
of trauma systems would allow for seamless and effective care across
the United States with the ability to expand to meet the medical needs
of the community from a man-made or natural disaster.
What Is a Regional
What Is Trauma?
The trauma patient
is an injured person who requires timely diagnosis and treatment of
actual or potential injuries by a multidisciplinary team of health care
professionals, supported by the appropriate resources, to diminish or
eliminate the risk of death or permanent disability. Injuries occur
across a broad spectrum and a trauma system must determine the appropriate
level of care for each type of injury.
The four levels refer to the kinds of resources available in a trauma
center and the number of patients admitted yearly. These are categories
that define national standards for trauma care in hospitals. Developed
and recommended by the American College of Surgeons.
||A Level I trauma center
has a full range of specialists and equipment available 24-hours
a day and admits a minimum required annual volume of severely injured
patients. Additionally, a Level I center has a program of research,
is a leader in trauma education and injury prevention, and is a
referral resource for communities in nearby regions.
||A Level II trauma center
works in collaboration with a Level I center. It provides comprehensive
trauma care and supplements the clinical expertise of a Level I
institution. It provides 24-hour availability of all essential specialties,
personnel and equipment. Minimum volume requirements may depend
on local conditions. These institutions are not required to have
an ongoing program of research or a surgical residency program.
||A Level III trauma center
does not have the full availability of specialists, but does have
resources for the emergency resuscitation, surgery and intensive
care of most trauma patients. A Level III center has transfer agreements
with Level I and/or Level II trauma centers that provide back-up
resources for the care of exceptionally severe injuries.
||A Level IV trauma center
provides the stabilization and treatment of severely injured patients
in remote areas where no alternative care is available.