The Time to Act is Now

The Time to Act is Now

By: Alana Temple, RN, BSN
Boundary Community Hospital

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Boundary Community Hospital has made various efforts to improve cardiac care and outcomes for those presenting with heart-related problems.

Life Flight Network, Boundary Community Hospital and Boundary Ambulance work together in a Time Sensitive Emergency to get patients to the highest level of care as fast as possible.

On July 10, 2019, Boundary Community Hospital received designation from the Idaho Time Sensitive Emergency Registry as a Level II STEMI facility. This means that anyone seeking treatment due to cardiac issues from either Boundary Community Hospital (BCH) or Boundary Ambulance can expect to receive the best of care as defined by the Idaho State Registry guidelines. Two years of cardiac patient data were reviewed by state surveyors to ensure compliance with the designation.

When patients present to the hospital with chest pain, they must be quickly triaged. This begins with our Health Unit Coordinator, who is usually the first person on the hospital team that you will meet. When you state that you are having chest pain, they will quickly alert the Registered Nurse in the Emergency Department, and you will be taken into a room. Once your care begins, the guideline timer begins. Ultimately within the first 10 minutes of arrival into the treatment room, an EKG will be performed. This is the first diagnostic tool that is used for cardiac care. Blood will be drawn for laboratory testing, you will be placed on a cardiac monitor, and vital signs taken. You may be given baby aspirin to quickly chew.

A STEMI (ST elevation myocardial infarction) is the most life threatening cardiac event that can happen and quick intervention is the key. A STEMI is a very serious type of heart attack where a major artery to the heart has been blocked and it is detected on an EKG. Time is of the essence as oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the heart muscle is not able to circulate properly and causes damage. Once a STEMI is recognized, the goal of the TSE team is to have you on your way to a cardiac catheterization lab (the closest facility is Kootenai Health) within 90 minutes of the diagnosis. Cardiac catheterization may have the ability to re-open the blocked cardiac artery. In the course of the state survey, Boundary Community Hospital’s Emergency Team was found to meet and/or exceed all of these parameters.

Quick intervention is vital in any type of cardiac emergency. It is extremely important that care is initiated as soon as possible. Call 911, which will dispatch Boundary Ambulance with their life saving equipment and highly trained Paramedics. In addition, all Boundary County Sheriff’s Department patrol vehicles have been equipped with Automated External Defibrillators (AED). When a 911 chest pain is dispatched, the Hospital TSE Emergency Team is alerted so they can begin preparation.

Boundary Community Hospital is proud to have received the Idaho Time Sensitive Emergency Level II STEMI Center designation and will continue to strive to provide excellent care for our community. Together, we can save lives.