What is a trauma center?
A trauma center is a specific type of hospital capable of providing specialized medical resources and services to patients with traumatic injuries.
Trauma centers are given a particular designation (level I, II, III, IV, or V) based on the kinds of resources available at the facility and the number of patients they admit in a year.
The criteria for each level can vary by state, but the American Trauma Society has a general guideline for what each trauma level should include. For example, a level I trauma center has 24-hour in-house coverage from general surgeons and prompt care for various specialties. In comparison, a level V trauma center has only basic emergency department facilities.
In general, each increase in level (advancing from level V to I) indicates a greater ability to provide care for a wider range of patients and more severe injuries.
Why are trauma centers important in healthcare?
Trauma centers are essential to healthcare because they are able to provide prompt and specialized acute care to patients with significant injuries. When patients are appropriately cared for by well-trained staff, there is a substantial reduction in the risk of permanent disability or death.