Page 61 - Healthcare News Nov/Dec 2021
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 Mercy Launches Community Emergency Response Team
SPRINGFIELD — Mercy Medical Center is committed to innovation in the delivery of emergency medical services (EMS), and the most recent example of that commitment is the launch of the
new Mercy CERT program that brings a hospital Emergency Department physician directly to the patient in the field.
A CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) physician responds to 911 medical emergencies together with an ambulance. The CERT vehicle is equipped with resources to provide additional advanced care not traditionally available to patients by paramedics.
The CERT vehicle is currently staffed three to four days a week by a board-cer- tified emergency medicine physician. Dr. Matthew Cauchon is the medical director of the program. The vehicle is equipped with radios that allow the responding physician to communicate with Mercy- affiliated EMS, fire, and police services in Western Mass.
CERT physicians on scene of a patient in need of emergency care support EMS with patient-management decisions in the field and en route to the hospital. In addition to being able to provide advanced care, they also have access to equipment and proce- dures not typically available in the EMS system. These include:
• Rapid-sequence intubation medica- tions to sedate and paralyze patients, which is the standard of care in a hospital and provides safer intubation;
• IV medications to increase blood
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living. And once you realize your life is worth living and there’s something to live for, your mindset changes.”
Breaking the Stigma
While stigma around mental health and substance abuse has lessened in society in recent years, it’s still an issue for many, especially parents of struggling teenagers — and
it’s one factor keeping some families from seeking help, Grimaldi said.
“Stigma is always going to be there. But I tell parents, ‘it’s not what people think about you, it’s what you do to help your kid’ you’re the one bothered by your son being in a drug program, not him. He’s here to get the treatment he needs.”
Part of that is building life skills, she explained.
“We’re not just a substance-abuse and mental-health program. We teach them a lot of independent-living skills, all the different skills they haven’t learned at home. A lot of kiddos, when they come to us, they don’t know how to do basic chores. They were never taught.
“Or they’ve never done dinner as a whole, like we do
Dr. Matthew Cauchon with the EMS ‘fly car’ that supports ambulance response.
  pressure and heart function in a very sick patient in shock;
• Advanced airway management, includ- ing indirect laryngoscopy, supraglottic devices, and surgical cricothryroidotomy, a last-resort, life-saving airway procedure;
• Point-of-care ISTAT to check vital labs prior to arrival at the ED;
• Mass-casualty equipment including tourniquets, special clotting bandages, and other life-saving equipment; and
• Field amputation, or the ability to amputate an entrapped extremity.
The ability to provide a blood transfu- sion to patients in shock from acute blood loss will soon be available as well.
According to Cauchon, patients and their family members are surprised and relieved when he arrives on the scene. What they may not realize is that this program promotes real-time quality improvement
as the EMS physician works directly with the paramedics providing live feedback on patient care during and after a specific call. In this way, education is more meaningful as it associated with an actual patient and
their immediate clinical needs.
“Dr. Cauchon and his CERT physi-
cians bring an asset to the field that has long been missing,” said Johnathon Hall, a paramedic with Alert Ambulance, Chicopee Division. “A key part of being an EMS med- ical director is field supervision. His direct clinical oversight and real-time feedback is invaluable. He makes EMS feel like part of the whole emergency-medicine system. He ensures standards are held by all providers, and providing real-time medical control is helpful to me and my patients.”
 out with long-time friends or engaging in a sport they’ve loved all their life.
“Instead of waiting until the school calls and says, ‘hey, your kid was caught with a cigarette,’ or ‘your kid was smoking pot up on the hill,’ be more attentive right now. There’s more to life than the busyness.”
It often starts with the most basic questions to get com- munication flowing between parent and child — and lessen the chances of those signs being missed.
“Ask, ‘how was your day? What did you learn today? What did you have for lunch today?’ These are basic ques- tions parents don’t ask. I’ve seen parental visits where they just stared at each other because they don’t know how to talk to each other. They never took the time to get to know their kid. And I think it’s because people are so busy doing busy things.”
Goodwin House keeps Grimaldi plenty busy, and she loves seeing clients progress through the levels — and, more importantly, progress into sobriety and indepen- dence.
“I love my job. I love being able to work with so many different youth in such a short period of time,” she told HCN. “You’re able to work with them and see where their struggles are. I love what I do because I think we make a difference, in the sense that we’re able to support them and help them gain sobriety. Even if it’s just 90 days, it’s 90 days they didn’t have before.”
Which then becomes 399 days — and counting. v WWW.HEALTHCARENEWS.COM 61
here,” she went on. “They’re like, ‘why are we all eating together?’ They’re not used to it. It’s sad because you think, at their age, they would be used to having dinner with their family, but they’re not, so we teach them how to exist within a big, cohesive family.”
Grimaldi has some advice for families whose kids may not necessarily be struggling with addiction: talk to them before they get to that point. Because, again, it can happen to anyone.
“So many people wait until their kid gets into the
worst point, when they’re in the hospital, getting stomach pumped, getting Narcan, but we shouldn’t wait until it gets to that point. We should be able to help our kids from the start, realizing there’s small changes that can happen, and those small changes lead to the bigger things.”
  Once you realize your life is worth living and there’s
something to live for, your mindset changes.”
For example, a teenager might suddenly stop hanging

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