UNCW, New Hanover Regional Medical Center EMS combine care efforts

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UNCW Athletics recently partnered with New Hanover Regional Medical Center EMS (NHRMC-EMS) to work on delivering prompt, efficient care to student-athletes during Seahawk athletic events on campus.

The UNCW athletic training staff spent two days working with NHRMC-EMS specialists in a collaborative event to synthesize transitional care between EMS and athletic trainers when responding to various emergent illnesses and injuries.

UNCW and New Hanover Regional Medical Center EMS during this month's seminar. Photo courtesy- UNCW Sports
UNCW and New Hanover Regional Medical Center EMS during this month’s seminar. Photo courtesy- UNCW Sports

“When an injury or illness occurs and we determine the need for EMS and further medical care, it can be logistically challenging to navigate any differences in protocols in the midst of the emergency,” said Catherine Lenhardt, a third-year athletic trainer at UNCW and one of the organizers of the event.

“Improved health care, communicating expectations for the transition of care, and ultimately improved patient outcomes in emergencies was the heart behind the event and it was rewarding to see it turn into a mutually beneficial learning experience for ATCs and EMTs.”

In collaboration with Aaron Kasulis, Battalion Chief for NHRMC-EMS, Seahawk Athletics worked with EMS to build a strategic plan for each of the UNCW athletics venues to streamline directions, building and venue entry points, and designate individuals involved and where they will be located during an emergency.

Their combined efforts over the past few months helped fuel the design of the seminars this month to facilitate merging protocols during medical emergencies.

Lenhardt said the seminars will help both parties react quickly and efficiently to injuries or illnesses. The seminars, which drew 50 attendees each day, were held on two occasions to help more paramedics join.

“We received positive feedback from everyone who attended and we plan to develop and expand the scope of the seminar and host it annually,” said Lenhardt.

In addition to the nine UNCW staff ATCs and NHRMC’s paramedics, each of the athletic trainers from New Hanover County’s four high schools and UNCW Medical Dr. Walt Laughlin attended the initial session.

UNCW’s athletic trainers worked with Kasulis, EMS’s Clinical Educator Steven Howell, and Field Training Officers Wendy Housand and Cody Watkins to develop materials for the three breakout sessions, which covered cardiac arrest, heat illness/hyperthermia and spine injury and football equipment removal.

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