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What Makes UC Health West Chester Hospital a Certified Trauma Care Center?

May. 31, 2022

No one wants to find themselves in a life-threatening emergency that requires specialized trauma care, but when accidents happen, West Chester Hospital’s Trauma Services team offers unique advantages through a highly capable team and its UC Health affiliation.


What makes a hospital trauma center certified?

As a fully verified Level III Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons since 2014, West Chester Hospital is the northern Cincinnati region’s destination for complex trauma care when people find themselves in unforeseen accidents resulting in serious injuries. The hospital team provides prompt assessments, resuscitation, surgery, intensive care and stabilization for injured patients day or night, year-round. More than 8,000 trauma victims have been treated at West Chester Hospital since its opening in 2009. 

“Level III verification confirms our overall readiness to care for those who experience serious traumatic injuries, from the time an accident happens, during helicopter or ambulance transport, and through rehabilitation and recovery,” states Jenifer Brodsky, BSN, RN, trauma program manager for West Chester Hospital. 

Community Hospital Convenience with Level 1 Trauma Expertise

West Chester Hospital offers a special advantage that other local hospitals cannot, offering the convenience of a community hospital while also providing access to the same skills, knowledge and expertise as a Level I Trauma Center. 

“We are integrated with the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, which is UC Health’s Level I Trauma Center,” explains Ryan Earnest, MD, UC Health trauma surgeon, medical director of trauma services for West Chester Hospital and assistant professor of surgery at the UC College of Medicine. “The advantage is that our trauma surgeons who work at UC Medical Center are the same surgeons who provide care at West Chester Hospital. It’s a truly unique situation.” 

UC Health’s Level I Trauma Center at UC Medical Center—the only one in the region, located on the UC Health Clifton Campus—has the highest capabilities to meet the highest demands. The providers who work there are highly trained, sub-specialized experts. Dr. Earnest and his colleagues split their time working at UC Medical Center and at West Chester Hospital. 

“Our trauma specialists travel back and forth between both hospitals frequently—we are providing that same level of care at both locations,” says Dr. Earnest. 

Easier Access to Life-Saving Care

This unique structure is in place for all trauma services that West Chester Hospital provides, including trauma surgery, emergency services, orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery, as well as others. In some scenarios, a patient’s injuries may require that they be transferred to UC Medical Center, but upon first arrival at West Chester Hospital, providers are able to accelerate and manage their care. 

“We are familiar with high-level trauma situations. When we see those very serious injuries, we can immediately begin providing the necessary care if the patient is transferred,” explains Dr. Earnest. 

“I’m able to call my colleagues in Clifton to give them advanced notice, and the wheels quickly start spinning. This remarkable collaboration between the two hospitals’ trauma teams is in the best interest of the patient, as we facilitate their care on a level that other hospitals are not always able to provide,” says Dr. Earnest. The UC Health Air Care helipad sits just outside of the West Chester Hospital Emergency Department if a patient must be transported by air. 

Addressing Trauma Awareness in Our Community

We are dedicated to preventing trauma-related incidents in our community before they happen, not only during National Trauma Awareness Month, but all year, too. 

Injury Prevention Is Our Priority 

The West Chester Hospital trauma team offers tailored educational programs to prevent serious accidents before they occur. 

“Educational programs are offered to specifically focus on the injuries that patients experience most often,” says Gina Menninger, RN, BSN, UC Health trauma prevention and outreach coordinator. 

Avoiding Falls 

“We have many patients who experience geriatric falls,” says Dr. Earnest, “which is a common occurrence in our suburban population.” 

West Chester Hospital offer a seven-week program called Stepping On to help those at risk of falling. 

“It begins with basic exercises to help improve the strength of certain muscles that tend to become weaker as people grow older, which can cause them to fall more frequently,” Menninger explains. 

Menninger and her colleagues participate in community events as well, offering the Timed Up and Go (TUG) Test—a simple evaluation used to measure functional mobility and a person’s likelihood to fall. 

“We measure how long it takes a person to stand up while sitting in a chair, walk 10 feet, turn around and come back,” says Menninger. 

The test provides a great visual to analyze a person’s walking pattern to see if they may be stutter-stepping or experiencing hesitancy in stepping forward. Tai Chi classes are also available, which according to Menninger, is an excellent exercise for older adults that is proven to decrease falls. 

Driving Safely 

The second-leading cause of trauma emergencies are motor vehicle accidents. Menninger organizes many events to teach all populations about safe driving. New drivers are taught about the consequences of distracted driving, impaired driving and driving without a seatbelt, while older drivers can participate in a drive-through program where they can check to make sure they are using all the technology on their car properly. 

“Some may not know how to adjust their seat,” explains Menninger. “We make sure their head is three inches above the steering wheel, their headrest is in the appropriate spot and their seatbelt isn’t rubbing on their neck. We also make sure they know how to use their windshield wipers, lights and mirrors.”

Stop the Bleed Classes 

People often seek urgent trauma care from work, household or pedestrian-related accidents. 

“Many people work in their yard with power tools—we’ve seen chainsaw injuries when people are just trying to clear their brush,” says Dr. Earnest. “We also see patients who come in from workplace injuries, everything from nail gun injuries to people falling on construction sites.” 

For all types of injuries, UC Health provides Stop the Bleed classes, teaching the basics of bleeding control and providing participants with readiness should they experience or witness a serious wound. 

The program teaches people how to apply pressure, pack a wound and use a tourniquet. This hands-on course teaches participants how to help as a bystander before emergency personnel arrive. 

To sign up for a Stop the Bleed class, contact Gina Menninger at regina.menninger@uchealth.com or at 513-584-5382. 

UC Health also offers Take10 Cincinnati, a free, 10-minute training course on how to provide compression-only CPR that can save lives. Learn more at take10cincinnati.com.