Kootenai Health’s injury prevention team tackles Kootenai County’s top injuries
With one of the busiest emergency departments in the state, Kootenai Health sees its fair share of injuries. It’s the job of Kootenai’s Injury Prevention and Trauma Services team to track the most frequent emergency visits and put together a plan to help decrease the county’s top injury culprits.
Through educational and outreach events, this highly skilled team works hard to decrease emergency hospital visits for injuries related to falls; vehicle and motorcycle accidents; skiing and snowboard injuries; ATV accidents; firearm injuries; and bicycle-, scooter- and skateboard related accidents.
“Our injury prevention department looks at trends in trauma-related accidents seen here at Kootenai Health and creates programs around those trends,” Wendy Ferguson, RN, injury prevention coordinator, said. “Our Injury Prevention programs aim at educating our community on ways to decrease and prevent the risk of serious injury and/or death. We use evidence-based, best practice recommendations from accredited sources and strive to make our programs educational, informative and fun! We love what we do, and I think that really shows in our work with the community.”
Community collaboration Some of the team’s programs have become quite popular throughout the community. They have been invited to take their show on the road to provide helmet safety checks, Stop the Bleed (an emergency injury or mass casualty response class), water and life jacket safety, and fall prevention programs to some of the region’s largest employers and schools.
“We work closely with area schools, businesses, and public agencies on injury prevention projects. Our bicycle helmet safety program has been presented in partnership with Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls, Lakeland and Kellogg school districts,” Wendy said. “Since 2018, we have educated 2,791 elementary school students on helmet safety and distributed over 1,200 free helmets. We work with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s department on water and life jacket safety and help restock the local life jacket loaner stations. In the winter months, we work with Lookout Resort on ski and snowboard helmet safety and concussion awareness.”
The Injury Prevention team also collaborates with other local agencies to teach their employees and staff Stop the Bleed. These agencies include the Idaho Transportation Department; Panhandle Health District’s Medical Reserve Corps; North Idaho College Workforce Training Center; Idaho State Nutrition Association; Kootenai County government offices; and the Coeur d’Alene, Lakeland, Kellogg, and Plummer/
Worley school districts.