Key messages about the new Level I Trauma Center

Introduction to adult trauma care:

  • A trauma center is not a physical wing of a hospital, it is the entire hospital.
  • A trauma center is a state-certified hospital that has the specialized staff and equipment to treat victims of traumatic injury.
  • Designated trauma centers are hospitals that are specially equipped to provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary medical services to trauma victims. Trauma centers are typically classified as Level 1, 2 or 3 based on the resources, equipment and specialists provided, as well as the trauma volume and research and educational commitment.
  • The most common causes of traumatic injuries include serious falls, serious head injuries, motor vehicle crashes, gunshot wounds and serious burns.
  • Emergency care covers a broad set of services, handling a very wide spectrum of conditions that range anywhere from a sprained ankle, to a heart attack or stroke, severe stomach pains, burns, bleeding, or respiratory distress. UChicago Medicine will continue to care for these conditions every day.
  • Victims of trauma often require care provided outside of the emergency room, including, but not limited to, operating rooms, intensive care units, physical therapy, med-surg, social work, radiology and blood bank.
  • The care of trauma patients spans all services of the hospital.
  • A highly effective, multidisciplinary trauma care program depends on nurses, social workers, mental health providers, family advocates, violence interrupters and recovery specialists, care coordinators, and others.
  • The state requires Level I trauma care providers to have these surgical and non-surgical services available at any given time:
    • Adult trauma surgery
    • Obstetrics
    • Pediatric surgery
    • Orthopedic
    • Opthalmologic
    • Oral-Dental
    • Otorhinolarygologic
    • Plastic/maxillofacial
    • Urologic
    • Reimplantation service or transfer agreement
    • Neurosurgical
    • Cardiology
    • Internal Medicine
    • Pediatrics
    • Pulmonary
    • Nephrology
    • Burn Center staffed by RN trained in burn care
    • Acute spinal cord injury management
    • Cardiothoracic
    • Psychiatry
    • Operating room availability


Activating adult trauma services at the University of Chicago Medicine:

  • We plan to launch adult Level 1 adult trauma services on May 1, 2018.
  • The geographic location of the University of Chicago Medicine will allow us to serve patients who currently travel further away from the South Side for adult trauma care.
  • Our vision for the UCM trauma center is to provide our communities, patients and their families with high-quality, high-touch trauma care through clinical excellence and integrated recovery and outreach programs, while enlarging the reservoir of knowledge through medical education, research, and community collaboration.
  • Our new adult emergency department includes four specialized trauma resuscitation bays.
  • The new ED will also have an imaging facility dedicated to ED and trauma patients.
  • We are now actively recruiting the additional trauma faculty and building the team to support the program, develop the policies and protocols.
  • On March 1, the Medical Center will submit a completed trauma action plan to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). This details the Medical Center’s plans for managing care of trauma patients.
  • By April 13, representatives from the Illinois Department of Public Health will conduct a site visit to the hospital to certify that it has met the requirements for providing adult trauma care. This is the final step for IDPH approval of UCMC as a trauma center.
  • Pending IDPH approval, on May 1, 2018, UCMC will begin treating adults who have suffered injuries from serious falls, motor vehicle crashes, major head injuries, violent crimes and other emergencies.
  • Trauma medical directors from EMS Region XI have unanimously endorsed UChicago Medicine’s plans to become an adult Level I Trauma Center.
  • We aspire to have our center accredited by the American College of Surgeons. It will require rigorous testing of our practices, protocols and staff to earn and maintain this accreditation of our trauma services once we launch them.
  • The Medical Center must continuously improve the quality of its care in order to maintain trauma care accreditation.

Milestones in the creation of our adult Level I Trauma Center:

  • We have hired six world-class trauma faculty.
  • A nursing clinical director of trauma services, Debra Allen, joined UCMC in March.
  • Trauma care simulation and team building exercises are underway.
  • Site visits to other trauma centers, such as Loyola Medicine in Chicago and Brigham and Women’s in Boston, have been completed and more are planned.
  • We’re developing administrative and program support roles.
  • To create the trauma center, we’ve created three interdisciplinary work teams around major phases of patient care (arrival/ED, procedural services and inpatient care/discharge)
  • We are conducting Rapid Improvement Events (RIEs) to begin patient flow process design; teams are identifying and prioritizing resource needs.
  • Core faculty positions have been posted and are being processed according to BSD procedures.
  • Discussions around graduate medical education options are underway.
  • David Crump, our violence recovery program manager is working in the hospital. He will handle outreach to the community and work inside the Medical Center to improve continuity of care for victims and families of gun violence.

Trauma care and how it makes the whole hospital better:

  • We will establish a culture of trauma care. This means we won’t see trauma cases as a crisis. Trauma care as our normal way of providing care will make UChicago Medicine more efficient in all areas of patient care.
  • The care we provide for victims of trauma will ultimately elevate the care we provide for all of our patients.
  • We anticipate a state-of-the-art center that will provide high quality personalized care for acutely ill traumatized people.
  • Using technology, we will treat each and every patient, each and every day, as if he or she were our family member—not a victim or a perpetrator.
  • We’re already a 24-7 operation, but the sense of urgency around emergent cases will escalate.
  • Trauma care will require the involvement of the right people (including those who perform functions outside of the Emergency Department), new and revised policies and protocols, programs that will be new to UCMC, a heightened level of teamwork, and new and refined systems of care.
  • A trauma center in which we treat multiple emergencies at one time will require us to create backup systems and redundancies. This will become our normal way of providing care.
  • The UChicago Medicine Community Advisory Council will be important advisors related to partnerships and our strategy to address community health needs, which includes violence prevention efforts.
  • We encourage you to actively consider how a trauma center at UCM will affect how you currently do your work and plan accordingly.
  • As we identify any gaps, we will listen attentively and act deliberately to safely launch the Trauma Center.
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