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Business & Merchant

By Lois Thomson

Giving the best possible care to patients and the community is at the heart of Ambulance and Chair EMS.  One way of carrying out this mission is by replacing the cardiac monitors for the ambulances.  Larry Pollock, executive director, said the current monitors are about 15 years old, but the new ones "are cutting-edge, they have much more capability and efficiency for the crews.  These are pretty advanced and allow us to do various things."

 

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He explained they serve as a defibrillator, so if a patient's heart stops, the crews are able to shock it back into a correct heartbeat.  "They also give CPR feedback in real time, so we know if we have to go faster or deeper to try to help with patient outcomes."

The second part of their latest commitment to quality care was the purchase of 26 AEDS (automated external defibrillators) and the donation of one to each fire department in its coverage area.  Pollock said this was a large investment, as they currently serve 33 municipalities in Washington County out of three stations, in Washington, Bentleyville, and Smith Township near Burgettstown.  "We really want to put a patient-centered approach to this system of care integrated between the fire departments and the ambulance, so we can provide our residents the best possible care."

He pointed out there are particular advantages to these devices during a pandemic.  "We find that people are sicker, and a lot of folks don't want to go to the hospital as early into an illness as they wanted to before, and these devices can help.  They're more efficient because they're lighter, and our crews can take them to bedside, which promotes better patient care."

Pollock continued by saying, "Obviously, when somebody is not breathing or doesn't have a pulse, everything has to click in a certain way to manage that patient.  That takes a cooperative effort between the fire department, our quick response services, and also the local ambulance service that's staffed with EMTs and paramedics."

For work like this, Ambulance and Chair EMS recently received the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline® EMS SILVER PLUS Achievement Award for setting up specific quality improvement measures to treat patients who suffer severe heart attacks.  It acknowledged how EMTs and paramedics play a vital role in the care for those who have heart attacks, saying they are often the first medical point of contact, and that they can save precious treatment time by triggering the emergency response system that alerts hospitals to an incoming patient.

Those who apply for the award must designate how their organization has made a commitment to improving quality care for patients.  Pollock cited Gina Sicchitano, who handles quality assurance, as helping Ambulance and Chair EMS to receive the award.

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