Craig Although The Memorial Hospital's recent Level IV trauma center review showed the hospital had no issues hindering care, Trauma Program Nurse Charity Neal said there still is work to do.
"I don't think you can ever stop getting better," she said.
But, it may be difficult to do better than 100 percent.
On April 30, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment conducted a review of TMH trauma procedures and processes, including patient care and hospital documentation. The state's team consisted of doctors, nurses and other observers.
Trauma centers are ranked on different levels depending on the types of procedures each can handle.
A Level I trauma center has the resources for such procedures as open-heart surgery and head trauma, whereas TMH - at Level IV - can perform certain bodily trauma operations but does not have long-term intensive care capabilities.
A poor review would put the hospital at risk for losing its trauma center status. Because there were no issues, TMH gets an automatic recommendation to continue its services.
The official review indicated TMH has "zero deficiencies."
That is not the same way Neal described the hospital's stance toward care.
"The hospital as a whole has a renewed dedication to making everything about our patient care as helpful as possible," she said. "The credit for this goes to everyone at the hospital who has made that their goal and worked so hard.
"We still have a lot of work to do."
When the state reviewed TMH's trauma services in February 2007, the hospital did have two or three deficiencies in their record keeping systems, Neal said.
There were not any issues with patient care then, but everything comes together for a patient's well being, she said.
Since then, TMH general surgeon Dr. Stan Pense said, hospital administrators made trauma care a priority.
Pense said the hospital needed a full-time trauma coordinator, and George Rohrich, TMH Chief Executive Officer, found the money to make that happen and hired Neal.
"When we had deficiencies, he gave us the resources to correct that," Pense said. "Without the support of the administration, we couldn't have done this."
Other changes include new policies that bring more specialists to the emergency room for high-level traumas. Now, a general surgeon, X-ray technician, anesthesiologist, surgical technician, emergency room nurse and other hospital staff come together for trauma victims, he said.
That kind of cooperation and response can mean the difference for a patient, Pense said.
Such as the case of a local boy who punctured his abdomen with his bicycle handles, he said. TMH staff did their best to make sure the boy did not lose too much blood before he was flown to Grand Junction and later Denver.
"We're not a Level I trauma center, and we're not trying to be," he said. "But we want to be the best we can for the community."
Both TMH and the Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs have the same level trauma center.