By Toni Schoonover, BSN, RN – Trauma Coordinator at Sheridan Memorial Hospital
On May 12, 2022 Governor Gordon signed a proclamation recognizing May as Trauma Awareness Month in Wyoming. Every year in May, the American Trauma Society (ATS) and Society of Trauma Nurses (STN) join with other trauma organizations to celebrate National Trauma Awareness month by sharing injury prevention and education to highlight and prevent major causes of injury and death from trauma. This all started in 1988 when Ronald Reagan acknowledged the need for better trauma awareness and designated this month to focus time and resources into increasing education and prevention activities.
This year Sheridan Memorial Hospital (SMH) is doing its part to help raise awareness and provide education to our community. During May, you will see Emergency Department Staff wearing Trauma Awareness shirts with the quote “Prevention is Cure.” Trauma Awareness is all about prevention: 94% of trauma patients seen at SMH in 2021 were due to blunt injuries such as falls and motor vehicle crashes. Many of these injuries could have been prevented with simple interventions such as wearing a seatbelt, not driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fall prevention including home safety and eliminating fall hazards in your home, and maintaining good physical health.
This year’s theme for Trauma Awareness Month is “Safe Surroundings: Preventing Violence and Promoting Peace Community by Community.” Topics for prevention are: intimate partner violence, firearm injury prevention, mental health awareness and community violence intervention. To find free webinars related to these topics, go to sheridanhospital.org and click on the Emergency Department page.
SMH has been an Area Trauma Hospital (ATH) since 2001. An ATH, by definition, is an acute care facility with the commitment, medical staff, personnel, and specialty training necessary to provide primary care to the trauma patient. An ATH provides initial resuscitation, immediate operative intervention and ensures stabilization prior to transferring a patient to a higher level of care if indicated. In order for SMH to maintain this designation, we go through an extensive Wyoming Trauma Facility Site Review every 3 years. Our review, which takes place this week, ensures our hospital is providing the best possible care to our trauma patients. We are continually reassessing the care we are providing and implementing performance improvement processes as needed. Maintaining trauma designation holds several benefits for our hospital, patients and community. Research has shown it leads to better patient outcomes with decreased incidence of death. Maintaining the designation holds us to a higher standard of care, helps keep care local, and ultimately it can save lives.