At the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly last week, the borough passed a 10-year operating agreement effective January 1, 2020 with South Peninsula Hospital Incorporated, the nonprofit that provides the care in the facility that the borough owns. It was also approved by the City of Homer who owns the land.
The hospital recently received certification as a Level 4 trauma center, offered several Stop the Bleed trainings for both medical professionals and community members and received statewide recognition for staff of the Physical Therapy Department.
Dr. Paula Godfrey is an Osteopathic Physician, Hospital Emergency Room Physician and medical director of the hospital’s trauma center.
“We just want to continually improve so we’re there for the community when they need us, ' said Godfrey.”
According to the Alaska Trauma Center website, there is an up to 35% increase in survival rates of seriously injured patients that are treated at a designated trauma center verses a non-designated trauma center. The website also states that the death rate from unintentional injury is more than 50% higher in rural areas than urban areas and that Alaska continues to have the third highest trauma mortality rate in the nation.
Derotha Ferraro is the Director of Public Relations for South Peninsula Hospital, says this means that the Hospital has demonstrated their ability to provide the best trauma care possible.
"... by allowing experts from the state to review our staffing and qualifications, our procedures, our protocols, our resources and our hospital meets state and national standards for providing timely and optimal care for trauma patients,” said Ferraro.
Dr. Godfrey lines out some of the benefits of having a local trauma center and why they offer more efficient care..
“When somebody needs trauma care, you’re aligned with your pre-hospital providers who are your EMS folks who are out taking care of you at your injury and then they’re aligned with the hospital themselves with certain protocols, " Dr. Godfrey said.
With the trauma center designation in place, the hospital is ready to help prevent deaths from bleeding emergencies through a series of trainings called Stop the Bleed that they launched in November. According to national statistics, uncontrolled bleeding is the number one cause of preventable deaths from trauma and the greater the number of people who know how to control bleeding in an injured patient, the greater that individual’s chances of surviving their injury.
The hospital’s one-hour classes are aimed at training individuals to learn skills for stopping bleeding by using only their hands as well as with a full trauma first aid kit.
Dr. Godfrey is directing the trainings, which she hopes to offer monthly in the coming year.
“We are super excited to bring this to our community here and I feel passionately about it because it’s a really good program. It should be fairly easy to implement and our community is so open to programs like this. They’re willing to get education and so we’re hoping to get this out to the public to as many people as possible," said Godfrey.
The hospital’s goal for 2020 is to train at least 200 people - high school and middle school students and staff, establishing a community Stop the Bleed equipment loan/purchase program, providing at least one Stop the Bleed kit at each public aid station in the service area and on water taxis.
Also in November, the hospital’s Rehabilitation Department was honored for positively affecting the quality of physical therapy through teamwork and for contributing to the delivery of high quality physical therapy services. Physical Therapy Assistant Emile Otis also received the Alaska Physical Therapy Assistant Association’s PTA50 award, recognizing outstanding efforts by physical therapy assistants. Otis is currently a clinical instructor for PTA students, mentors other PTA staff and is a driving force behind the hospital’s ergonomic assessment and training program.
For more information on the Stop the Bleed training and the Level 4 Trauma Center certification, visit the hospital website at www.sphosp.org.