UofL Health – UofL Hospital – J. David Richardson Trauma Center has a long-standing history of being the local, regional and national leader for trauma and burn care in Western Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Last year alone, our trauma center provided care for over 3,600 patients who needed the highly-specialized services of our multi-disciplinary trauma program. We are the region’s only American College of Surgeons (ACS) verified Level I trauma center for adults and we are one of only two Level I adult trauma centers in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Additionally, we are the region’s only Level 1 burn unit.
An ACS-verified Level I trauma center means that the institution has achieved the highest level of verification to deliver care to the most severely injured patients who need it most. It means that we are equipped to handle any and all significant injuries in our state-of-the-art facility. We are staffed with an experienced and dedicated team of professionals who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for trusting us with your patients and for supporting our program. We realize that we cannot be a trauma center without the hard work and dedication of many individuals outside of our organization. Our regional partners, referring hospitals and pre-hospital providers are critical in our mission of providing the best available care to those in our community.
The Level I trauma center at UofL Hospital has provided trauma care for more than 100 years. Able to handle any emergent situation, the trauma center is capable of treating patients simultaneously by utilizing:
- 43 patient bays
- 20 trauma/surgical ICU beds
- 16 burn beds
- 6 stroke beds
- 50 critical care beds
UofL Hospital treats more than 3,600 trauma and burn patients annually. More than 50% of those patients reside in counties outside Jefferson County and its bordering counties. The number of patients seen outside the Louisville area makes the UofL Hospital – J. David Richardson Trauma Center a critical local, regional and statewide resource.
- 2020 Trauma Center Annual Report
- 2019 Trauma Center Annual Report
- 2018 Trauma Center Annual Report
- 2017 Trauma Center Annual Report
As the area’s only Level I trauma center, no other facility in the region has the staff, resources and technology to manage the complex medical care a seriously injured patient can require at a moment’s notice. The emergency department provides a multidisciplinary approach to deliver optimal care for trauma emergencies.
The emergency department is staffed with a team of faculty, emergency medicine residents, physician assistants and specialty-trained nursing staff that provides emergency services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are also the area’s only decontamination facility for chemical and biological decontamination of individuals exposed to hazardous materials.
UofL Hospital has two trauma surgical intensive care units (ICU) specializing in caring for the most critically ill and injured patients. By working as a team, their mission is to provide compassionate and evidence-based care to patients and families who have endured a traumatic injury. Each trauma ICU has been recognized by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) with the Silver Beacon Award for Nursing Excellence.
The trauma nurse practitioners are an integral and valuable part of the UofL Hospital’s trauma team. We have four trauma nurse practitioners that work collaboratively with the attending physicians and surgical residents to ensure continuity of care for our trauma patients. They work closely with the case managers and social workers to help coordinate the discharge process.
During their daily patient rounding, they:
- Perform medical procedures
- Monitor patients’ progress
- Assist in wound care
- Provide patient and family education
About the Trauma Center
UofL Hospital is equipped with 14 inpatient and eight outpatient operating room suites, with two suites dedicated to the treatment of the most critically injured patients. Our operating rooms are fully staffed 24/7/365 and ready for use within minutes of a trauma patient’s arrival.
Trauma performance improvement
Our mission as a Level I trauma center is to deliver unequaled services driven by evidence-based treatment guidelines, education and research. The trauma service has a rigorous, formal internal performance improvement process that uses a multidisciplinary approach for rapid problem identification, data-driven analysis and resolution of issues within the quality control framework of our institution.
Our trauma registry provides the backbone for trending performance and outcome data, data analysis, performance and identification of system-related issues. The registry staff brings a wealth of knowledge with a combined 42 years of trauma data experience. The trauma registry maintains a record for each trauma patient admitted to the hospital. The staff collects over 250 data points of information on each patient, including ICD-9 coding and an injury severity score (ISS). Year-to-year, the registry staff studies the patterns, severity and causes of injuries that affect our community. This information is used for research that will improve the care of injured patients in the communities we serve.
UofL Hospital - Trauma Institute is dedicated to providing educational opportunities for both professionals as well as the community. The trauma institute offers a multitude of trauma certification, outreach and injury prevention courses throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana including:
- Emerging Street Drugs - Presentation on which illicit/prescription drugs are on the rise, and the latest findings and treatments for the pre-hospital and hospital provider.
- Risky Business – Targeted at alcohol and drug use, distracted driving, speeding and violence.
- Straight Talk - A one-day education program for juvenile fire-setters.
- Help Me I’m Falling - Fall prevention and education for older adults and adults with disabilities.
- Fire and Burn Safety - For older adults and adults with disabilities to prevent scald/burn injuries in the home or senior living facilities and to review escape routes within their home.
- Safe Boating and Swimming - Focused on making safety on and in the water a priority by educating about life jackets, avoiding alcohol and taking a safe boating class
Outreach and education
- Kentucky Trauma and Emergency Medicine Symposium – A conference providing the new and emerging trends in trauma care.
- Pre-Hospital Burn Education – Burn education and training for emergency medical services personnel on the importance of proper initial burn care and management.
- Geriatric Trauma – Education on identifying the unique characteristics and management of the geriatric trauma patient.
- Burn, Blast and Crush Injuries – Providing initial care and management of complex patient injuries.
Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) - This course teaches how to assess a patient’s condition, resuscitate and stabilize the patient and determine if a patient’s needs exceed a facility’s capacity. It also covers how to arrange for a patient’s inter-hospital transfer and ensure that optimum care is provided throughout the process. UofL Hospital provides a cadaver lab for the surgical skills portion of the class which has been extremely well received.
Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS) - Provides guidelines for the assessment and management of burn patients from the scene of the burn injury through the first 24 hours after injury. The courses are open to MDs, RNs, LPNs, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, therapists and paramedics, fire service and other emergency care personnel.
TNCC (Trauma Nursing Core Course) – Emergency Nurses Association developed this course to establish a standardized body of trauma nursing knowledge. It combines interactive learning with scenario-based assessments to give nurses a comprehensive learning experience.
RTTDC (Rural Trauma Team Development Course) – This course emphasizes a team approach to the initial evaluation and resuscitation of the trauma patient at a rural facility. With more than 60% of the country’s trauma deaths occurring in rural areas, the course assists rural health care professionals in determining the need to transfer the patient to a higher level of care. The intended audience includes physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, pre-hospital personnel, technicians and administrative support personnel.
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UofL Hospital was re-verified as a Level I trauma center by the American College of Surgeons.
UofL Hospital’s Trauma Center is verified as a Level I trauma center by the Verification Review Committee (VRC), an ad hoc committee of the Committee on Trauma (COT) of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). This achievement recognizes University Hospital’s dedication to providing optimal care for injured patients. Established by the American College of Surgeons in 1987, the COT’s Consultation/Verification Program for Hospitals promotes the development of trauma centers in which participants provide not only the hospital resources necessary for trauma care but also the entire spectrum of care to address the needs of all injured patients. This spectrum encompasses the pre-hospital phase through the rehabilitation process.
Verified trauma centers must meet the essential criteria that ensure trauma care capability and institutional performance, as outlined by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma in its current Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient manual.
The ACS Committee on Trauma’s verification program does not designate trauma centers. Rather, the program provides confirmation that a trauma center has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality trauma care for all injured patients. The actual establishment and the designation of trauma centers is the function of local, regional, or state health care systems agencies.
Research to improve patient care
Patients who undergo splenectomies during trauma care are at life-long risk for developing episodes of rapidly progressive septicemia, known as overwhelming post-splenectomy sepsis (OPSS). In an effort to reduce these risks, splenectomy patients are recommended to receive vaccinations against pneumococci, meningococci, Haemophilus influenzae type b and influenza virus. Patients should also be placed on an appropriate re-vaccination schedule and be educated regarding the importance of fever or infectious symptoms given their asplenia. Patients at UofL Hospital are routinely administered vaccines prior to discharge and provided with appropriate education regarding the risks of post-splenectomy infection. This includes a formal conversation with a trauma practitioner, as well as written information provided at discharge. However, since most patients do not follow up with their trauma providers beyond their initial period of injury convalescence, little is known about compliance in regards to post-splenectomy risk reduction over time. Despite uniform education prior to discharge, most patients undergoing splenectomy for trauma at our institution were unaware of the risks of OPSS and did not follow our recommended guidelines for risk reduction. Though OPSS is rare, it carries significant mortality. Further research targeting methods to improve compliance with recommendations is indicated.
History of UofL Hospital - Trauma Center
Celebrating over 100 years of service to our community: 1911-2017
- 1911: Louisville City Hospital starts accident service, representing the first designation in the country of a service whose primary mission was the care of patients with injuries and fractures.
- 1938: Dr. R. Arnold Griswold was named Chair of the Department of Surgery and later invented an innovative device for fracture reduction – the “Griswold Machine.” Dr. Griswold also worked with the Louisville Police Department to make station wagon cars available for transport of the injured.
- 1942: Louisville City Hospital changes its name to Louisville General Hospital.
- 1953: Louisville General Hospital treats four victims from Louisville’s first serious airplane crash at Standiford Field. Of the 41 people on board, 25 died.
- 1982: University Hospital named Level 1 trauma center.
- 1989: Trauma center treats 13 gunshot victims of (then) worst workplace shooting in U.S. history that took place at Standard Gravure.
- 1999: Emergency Department’s $13 million expansion completed, more than doubling its size. “Room 9” is remodeled, a dedicated room used to treat critically ill trauma patients.
- 2000: University Hospital’s emergency department was featured on an episode of TLC’s Trauma, Life in the ER.
- 2004: Jockey Tony D’Amico was treated in the trauma center after being seriously injured in Nov. 3 race at Churchill Downs. The 49-year-old rider suffered a fractured left collarbone, four fractured ribs and a punctured lung.
- 2006: Full renovation of the burn unit (region’s only adult burn unit) completed. The new unit features five ICU treatment beds and a hydrotherapy tub.
- 2015: Successful Level I trauma re-verification visit from the American College of Surgeons.
- 2016: Trauma Program Social Workers were added to the Trauma Center team.
- 2017: Stop the Bleed featured as a national outreach program.
- 2017: Implemented Pivot to Peace Intervention Network, providing resources to patients who have been hospitalized due to a violent injury.
- 2018: Successful Level 1 trauma re-verification visit from the American College of Surgeons.
- 2018: Opened newly expanded and renovated, 16-bed Burn Center.
- 2022: Renamed to honor the legacy of Dr. J. David Richardson.
Pivot to Peace Intervention Network
In October 2017, UofL Hospital became part of a community network dedicated to reducing violence in our city. Our Pivot to Peace Intervention Network provides resources to patients who have been hospitalized due to a violent injury. Our trauma community health workers and trauma social workers are here for you.
Through the Pivot to Peace Intervention Network, we can provide resources during and beyond hospitalization for your specific needs. This can include referrals for:
- Post-discharge follow-up
- Educational needs
- Job placement
- Other services you and your family may need to heal
We are committed to working with you and your family to find the connections you need to stay safe and move forward with your life.
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Trauma programs for survivors and their families
UofL Hospital has partnered with the Trauma Survivors Network (TSN) to further expand support to our trauma patients. The TSN is a community of patients and families like you who are looking to connect with one another and rebuild their lives after a traumatic injury. Joining this community can help build support and provide resources.
Following a trauma, hospitalization and resulting recovery can be filled with uncertainty, anxiety and frustration. The main goal of the TSN is to help you connect with others and rebuild your life following an injury. UofL Hospital and the American Trauma Society provide the programs and recovery resources patients, families and communities need to manage, heal and improve their lives. This partnership is committed to supporting and growing the TSN by providing important resources, fostering new relationships and promoting resiliency.
Trauma Survivors Network Resources
The national TSN website provides a place for trauma patients and their loved ones to connect with others and get the information they need to help rebuild their lives.
It also provides practical information on injuries and how they are treated. During your hospitalization, and throughout your recovery process, you will have access to the following programs and resources:
An online community where trauma survivors and their families share information while providing support to one another.
- Access NextStepsTM (nextstepsonline.org) – An online class designed to help survivors manage life after a serious injury.
- The Traumapedia – An online resource for information where you can learn about trauma care and rehabilitation.
- Trained Peer Support Volunteers
- A specialized approach connects our patients with peers that have endured similar events and injuries
- Bedside peer support visits provide hope and insight into the healing process from those who have lived experiences
Trauma Survivors Network support groups
Meet on the second Wednesday of the month from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. in the Glassroom, which is located in the basement of the Ambulatory Care Building.
- Share experiences and help others
- Feel less alone, anxious and afraid
- Learn new skills for coping with trauma
- Connect to local and national resources
Snack and chat
- Spend time with patients and family members
- Enjoy light refreshments
- Join in discussions of support, recovery and emotional impact of trauma