Date: 2/6/2014

Team provides high-level mobile care

A highly-trained team of Community Hospital medical professionals is providing critically ill patients with the specialty care they need while being transferred between hospitals. The Adult and Neonatal Critical Care Transport team, developed by Community Hospital and Prompt Ambulance, was established to ensure consistency in quality high risk care and decrease response turnaround.

The Critical Care Transport Team members include a respiratory therapist, physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant and nurse trained in specialty care medicine. Members of the team on each transport are based on individual patient situation. The transport, a fully-equipped intensive care level ambulance, enables the team to provide non-stop monitoring and vital life support for neonatal, neurological, respiratory, cardiac and trauma patients.

“The benefit to our critically-ill patients is tremendous when we can ensure their safety while getting them the extra resources they need,” Donald P. Fesko, CEO, Community Hospital. “With the team and the transport ambulance centrally located at Community Hospital in Munster and just a phone call away, it can reduce the response time when high-risk patients need to be transferred for additional care.”

The neonatal transport system was set in place to transfer critically-ill or premature newborns from Community Healthcare System sister hospitals — St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart and St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago - to Community Hospital in Munster (if the level of care is appropriate) and/or a children’s hospital should a baby need the expertise of a medical center.

Community Hospital’s NICU is the only Northwest Indiana critical care facility with board-certified University of Chicago Medicine neonatologists in-house 24 hours per day, seven days per week. They are supported by a skilled team of neonatal nurses and respiratory, occupational, physical and speech therapists to provide intensive intervention for infants with special medical needs.

“When a critically-ill baby is born and needs to be transported to a higher level of care than a regular or special care nursery, it is often a time-consuming process to transfer the baby to a hospital equipped to provide this type of care,” said Ameth Aguirre, M.D., University of Chicago
neonatologist on staff at Community Hospital. “Through this system, we are able to expedite this process by automatically accepting premature and critically-ill babies from the other area hospitals and bring them to Community Hospital or transport them to the University of Chicago Medicine for subspecialty care or surgery in a more efficient manner.”

Community Hospital delivers the most babies in Northwest Indiana, making the hospital the most experienced in the area and one of the leading facilities in the state for newborn care. The hospital’s Level III Neonatal Unit has extended neonatal capabilities with advanced monitoring equipment, technology and techniques.

Part of our mission is to provide continuity of care, according to Ronda McKay, vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer.

“When you have very sick patients - seconds can be imperative,” she said. “You have to immediately respond, and if you have to wait, then the patient can suffer. Here, we have one team coordinating care. It’s a seamless way for our patients to receive care no matter where they are in our hospital system,” McKay said.