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Response Team for high acuity patients goes live in East Kootenay

Higher levels of health care are now available to rural and remote residents in the East Kootenay.

A High Acuity Response Team (HART) consisting of five highly-trained critical care nurses was launched in the East Kootenay Wednesday.

In addition to the nurses, the East Kootenay team consists of a BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) basic life support ambulance team to provide ground transport for acutely ill patients from outlying rural and remote communities to higher levels of care. In more complex cases, a respiratory therapist will be called in to assist.

The East Kootenay HART team will serve the East Kootenay Regional Hospital’s catchment area, which includes facilities east to the Elk Valley, southwest to Creston, and north to Invermere; Golden is a secondary catchment area and transfers will occur in Invermere.

Under medical direction, the HARTs support the high acuity needs of the patient at the local rural site, during transport to a regional referral site such as East Kootenay Regional Hospital or to a tertiary site in Alberta.

East Kootenay HART nurses and respiratory therapists will be based at East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook, where they will support the Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit when not involved in patient transports. HART RNs will have critical care certification and extensive training for this specialty transport program.

The East Kootenay HART team is the third team in Interior Health with the others located in Trail and Kamloops. Planning is underway for a fourth HART team in the Okanagan.