The Eastern Regional Advisory Committee (ERAC) is composed of representatives from the 29 county referral region of Pitt County Memorial Hospital’s Level I Trauma Center. The representatives fall into several categories: prehospital providers; physicians, nurses, and administrators from the regional hospitals; and community volunteers. The major focus of ERAC is to implement and coordinate a regional trauma system and thereby improve trauma care in eastern North Carolina.
Several components must be in place in an organized trauma system. These are discussed in the Trauma Systems Act legislation which became effective in August 1998. The major components included are :
Education for the public and for trauma care providers. Public education should include system access information and prevention. Provider education, which includes both hospital and prehospital personnel, is focused on ensuring that providers at all levels have the knowledge they need to safely and efficiently care for trauma patients.
Trauma care guidelines. Trauma protocols must be developed for the region. These protocols will address triage, assessment, and transfer of trauma patients at both the prehospital and emergency department levels.
Transfer agreements. Transfer agreements must be in place between the trauma center and all hospitals that transfer patients to the center. Additionally, transfer agreements must be in place between hospitals and specialty care centers such as the Burn Center.
Diversion policies. A diversion policy must be developed which outlines procedures to be followed when the trauma center no longer has the resources to adequately care for trauma patients needing transfer.
Dispatch protocols. Regional dispatch protocols must be developed.
System evaluation tools. A regional quality improvement program needs to be developed and implemented.
To ensure that all of these elements are taken care of, ERAC members have volunteered to work on subcommittees. There are four of these: Guidelines/Quality Improvement; Public/Provider Education; Communications; and Research. The goals and objectives of each of these committees relate to one or more of the above listed elements.
The focus of ERAC for the next year will be on education of providers and the public and on eliciting the cooperation and help of all levels of providers throughout the region.
Currently, ERAC representatives are attending regional EMS advisory committee meetings to discuss implementation of the system. Representatives will also be contacting local rescue associations and asking to be included on agendas.
For more information, please contact the Trauma Department at at 252-847-4299 or visit www.uhseast.com/trauma_erac