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What is prehospital care?

What is prehospital care?

What is prehospital care?

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Pre-hospital care is medical care given to patients before arrival in the hospital after activation of emergency medical services. Care of seriously injured patients start at the scene of the injury and for severely injured patients acting quickly in the prehospital period is crucial with decisions and interventions affecting outcomes.

It is a crucial period when irreversible pathology and secondary injury to neurological and cardiac tissue can be


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The transfer of skills and procedures to pre-hospital medicine enables early advanced care across a range of disciplines. The variety of possible pathologies, challenges of environmental factors, and hazardous situations require management that is tailored to the patient’s needs and setting. Pre-hospital emergency medicine consists of not only clinical care, but also logistics, rescue competencies, and scene management.

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Medical Retrieval services provide the highest level of emergency medical patient care treatment and transport. Critically ill and injured patients are usually retrieved using a range of transport from emergency ambulances, helicopters to fixed-wing aircraft. Many countries with a large population in rural or unreachable areas have developed retrieval systems such as Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, MedSTAR (South Australia), Emergency Medical Retrieval Services (Scotland) and many more.

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Pre-hospital care is a developing and exciting area of emergency practice. Despite various issues, advances have taken place in pre-hospital care. The realization that, particularly in the case of trauma, the less the prehospital time, the better the outcome, has resulted in the shortening of on-scene times, reduction in time, and rapid transport, utilising in transit resuscitation. Moreover, there are several time-dependent treatments, where the challenge of providing optimal emergency care has increased.

Cardiac arrest is the best example of a time-sensitive condition, where response time, skilled treatment correlate strongly with outcomes. There is also good evidence that some other conditions will have better outcomes if high-quality treatment is provided in a timely fashion.

What is prehospital notification?

Prehospital notification of the impending arrival of a patient requiring emergency care, is seen as an integral component of an advanced prehospital care system. The effect of prehospital notification has been evaluated in many areas of healthcare including stroke, coronary heart disease and, trauma. Prehospital notification alone has been found to be independently associated with reduced mortality in trauma


Prehospital notification provides the opportunity for the receiving hospital to improve preparedness for reception and resuscitation of a critically injured or unwell patient. The information communicated may include the estimated arrival time, patient demographics, suspected injuries, vital signs, symptoms and any treatments provided in the prehospital setting.


Some notification is common in highly developed trauma systems, usually by radio to the triage desk of the receiving hospital, although standards have not been set for the format or content of communicated information.


What are the prehospital notification applications?