Hospital receives trauma designation

Northfield Hospital recently received a Level IV Trauma Hospital designation from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

The designation acknowledges that Northfield Hospital has successfully met state standards of commitment, clinical and equipment resources and staff training for the assessment and treatment of trauma patients. The hospital will also participate in continuous performance improvement initiatives related to trauma care.

With this designation, Northfield Hospital becomes part of a developing statewide trauma system created by the Minnesota Legislature in 2005. It is an effort to ensure that optimal trauma care is available and accessible to seriously injured people across the state and recognize the vital role that rural communities, ambulance services, hospitals and health care professionals play in the care and management of trauma patients.

On average more than 2,400 Minnesotans die from trauma each year. For every death, nine people are hospitalized for injuries. States with trauma systems have seen survival rates increase by 15 to 20 percent.

According to Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Sanne Magnan, the goal of the trauma system is to decrease injured patients’ time to care by making sure their medical needs are appropriately matched with hospital resources.

“With the designation of Northfield Hospital as a Level IV Trauma Hospital, we are getting closer to our goal of ensuring that seriously injured Minnesotans have access to an organized system of trauma care wherever they are in the state,” said Dr. Magnan.

There are four levels of designation in the trauma system. MDH assigns a designation on the resources and specialties available at each hospital. For instance, a Level I Trauma Hospital, such as Hennepin County Medical Center, earns that designation by having a broad array of surgeons available 24 hours a day. The standard of education and skills required of nurses and physicians are the same for all levels.

Northfield Hospital’s designation is the result of a rigorous, 18-month process that involved all areas of patient care. Policies and protocols were reworked to formalize partnerships with other hospitals in the trauma system so that trauma patients can be stabilized here and then seamlessly transferred to a larger hospital when needed.