In a cardiac situation, every minute is critical because, as the saying goes, “time is tissue.” That’s why from the moment a patient experiencing chest pain or heart attack symptoms enters Centura St. Elizabeth Hospital, everyone jumps into action. From physicians and nurses to maintenance housekeeping staff, it takes a village. If an ambulance is involved, the hospital is on alert and ready to continue treatment the moment the patient arrives.
It's all part of the hospital’s rigorous process to become an accredited Chest Pain Center. Every St. Elizabeth Hospital caregiver was trained on how to act when a cardiac alert is called over the intercom system. This means that any patient who is having cardiac symptoms will have an electrocardiogram (EKG) and other diagnostic tests within 10 minutes of arrival, and lifesaving medication in under 30 minutes.
“Our patients can rest assured that with this certification, they are given the best care, right here in their hometown,” said Megan Klacman, BSN, RN, who oversaw the accreditation process. “This is such a great thing for the Morgan County community.”
Northeast Colorado's only accredited chest pain center
A Chest Pain Center must be recertified every three years, a multi-faceted process that involves community education, a partnership with community EMS services, hospital signage and wayfinding, and examining process improvement metrics.
“Our entire team had to go through these audits to become a nationally recognized facility and meet these high standards of care,” Klacman says. “It was a great accomplishment for us that we were able to receive this accreditation because of the diligence and hard work everyone has put into making certain goals achievable.”
Recently, a patient entered St. Elizabeth Hospital experiencing chest pain, which immediately activated the cardiac alert system. During EKG administration, the patient went into cardiac arrest. The team used its new knowledge, certification protocols, and fast-acting caregiving, to perform CPR and defibrillation, ultimately stabilizing an acute situation and transferring the patient to another Centura hospital for a heart catheterization in less than 24 hours.
“We got to see all of the moving parts come together and work seamlessly to save this patient’s life,” Klacman says. “That was really rewarding for our whole team.”
If you or a loved one are experiencing chest pain or other possible symptoms of a heart attack, don’t wait. Call 911 immediately or go to your nearest emergency room. Centura St. Elizabeth Hospital is located at 1000 Lincoln St. in Fort Morgan.