An inventory of Canadian trauma systems: opportunities for improving access to trauma care
CJEM: Canadian Journal of Emergency Medical Care
Objective: Despite evidence that patients suffering major traumatic injuries have improved outcomes when cared for within an organized system, the extent of trauma system development in Canada is limited. We sought to compile a detailed inventory of trauma systems in Canada as a first step toward identifying opportunities for improving access to trauma care. Methods: We distributed a nationwide online and mail survey to stakeholders intended to evaluate the extent of implementation of specific
... rauma system components. Targeted stakeholders included emergency physicians, trauma surgeons, trauma program medical directors and program managers, prehospital providers, and decision makers at the regional and provincial levels. A "snowball" approach was used to expand the sample base of the survey. Descriptive statistics were generated to quantify the nature and extent of trauma system development by region. Results: The overall response rate was 38.7%, and all levels of stakeholders and all provinces/territories were represented. All provinces were found to have designated trauma centres; however, only 60% were found to have been accredited within the past 10 years. Components present in 50% or fewer provinces included an inclusive trauma system model, interfacility transfer agreements, and a mechanism to track bed availability within the system. Conclusion: There is significant variability in the extent of trauma system development in Canada. Although all provinces have designated trauma centres, opportunities exist in many systems to implement additional components to improve the inclusiveness of care. In future work, we intend to quantify the strength of the relationship between different trauma system components and access to definitive trauma care.