NorthStar Upgrades Equipment to Enhance Patient Care
September 19, 2007
NorthStar EMS, which is affiliated with Franklin Memorial Hospital, recently announced that it has taken delivery of a new ambulance for its Farmington base that introduces new equipment to further enhance patient care. The latest technology additions include capnography, which measures the amount of carbon dioxide that is expelled by a patient, and equipment that provides airway pressure to benefit those with breathing problems.
NorthStar's newest addition to its fleet of 12 ambulances and two paramedic intercept vehicles is a remounted PL Custom ambulance. To assure the most effective long-term value of its ambulance "boxes," NorthStar often reconditions the patient compartment in the ambulance and reinstalls it on a new Ford chassis. According to David Robie, NorthStar's Executive Director, this has proven to be a very cost effective way to obtain essentially a new ambulance for about two-thirds the cost of a totally new ambulance. This is good for NorthStar and good for the towns that support NorthStar in that costs and subsidy contributions are kept as low as possible.
The equipment introductions include capnography, which is used to help quickly identify and treat respiratory and cardiac issues. The equipment will be phased in at all of NorthStar's bases. And, under a pilot program with the State of Maine, NorthStar is also introducing equipment and training to provide the availability of continuous positive airway pressure on all its emergency runs. This equipment often brings relief for patients with acute pulmonary edema and other respiratory problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and may allow the responding unit to avoid placing a breathing tube in the patient. This may lead to faster recovery and less need for respiratory therapy in the hospital. "The ambulance response is just the start of a chain of events when someone is seriously ill," commented Robie. "We also consider it our responsibility to assure the best long-term care after we deliver the patient to the hospital. These new equipment introductions help us to meet that goal."
According to Robie, NorthStar also plans on taking delivery later this year of a totally new PL Custom ambulance for its Sugarloaf base. With an up-to-date fleet and continual upgrades to equipment, NorthStar remains at the forefront of patient care in Maine.
Information about NorthStar and the communities it serves can be found at www.fchn.org/northstar.
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