Aspirus Keweenaw Staff Receive CALS Training

Care teams from Aspirus Keweenaw, Ontonagon, Ironwood, and Iron River, along with Mercy EMS and Aspirus MedEvac took part in Comprehensive Advanced Life Support (CALS) training.

The program targets rural healthcare providers and trains personnel to anticipate, recognize and treat life-threatening emergencies on patients of all ages.

Aspirus Keweenaw is the second location in the Upper Peninsula to receive CALS training.

“When we got the call, we thought ‘Why do we need to have this training here at Aspirus Keweenaw?’ and there’s really two good reasons why we want to have the training,” said Aspirus U.P. Regional Chief Nursing Officer Grace Tousignent. “Number one is we see the same patients that come into our ED that you see in big, Metropolitan cities. The thing is is that we don’t see the same number of those patients, so we almost have to be more ready to treat the type of patients that come into our ED, because the numbers are smaller.”

The second reason to support the need for CALS training is the emphasis of working as a team.

“We utilize a team approach, where we actually bring a team of nurses, physicians and emergency medical services people together to train as a team to handle emergency problems in the area of medical or trauma-related injuries,” said Dr. Mark Wilcox, who has been with CALS for 25 years.

The CALS program protocol also helps providers treat the full range of possible illness or injury in different areas of medicine, including pediatric, trauma and cardiac in case specialized personnel are unavailable.

Participants attended sessions on chest tube insertions, helmet removal, splinting and ultrasound and ran through real-life scenarios, both of which provided learning opportunities for the teams to better prepare themselves for emergency situations.

CALS training is sponsored by the Michigan Center for Rural Health and is financed through the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care and Minnesota Department of Health.

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