Why did LifeFlight Eagle create a Ground Critical Care Transport program?

Adverse weather is the single biggest factor that prevents us from being able to respond to requests for transport by helicopter.

The rural hospitals we serve have extremely sick patients they need to get to the city, regardless of what weather conditions might be. Creating a ground transport option now allows us to serve those hospitals and their patients’ need for critical care, even if we aren’t able to provide the speed of an aircraft.

It’s a win for local EMS, too. It reduces the burden on 911 services, who have to pull an emergency response ambulance and crew off the street to conduct these long transports out of their communities.

Why did you choose to place your ground ambulance in Chillicothe?

Our Chillicothe base offers central proximity to several hospitals in our northern service area, who all face the need to transfer critically ill patients long distances to Kansas City or Columbia. To offer the service, we are partnering with the Chillicothe Fire Department, which will provide the ambulance and driver. Our flight nurse and flight paramedic will use LifeFlight Eagle’s medical equipment and provide patient care for the duration of the transport.

Why did LifeFlight Eagle create a Ground Critical Care Transport program?
Adverse weather is the single biggest factor that prevents us from being able to respond to requests for transport by helicopter.
The rural hospitals we serve have extremely sick patients they need to get to the city, regardless of what weather conditions might be. Creating a ground transport option now allows us to serve those hospitals and their patients’ need for critical care, even if we aren’t able to provide the speed of an aircraft.
It’s a win for local EMS, too. It reduces the burden on 911 services, who have to pull an emergency response ambulance off the street to conduct these long transports out of their communities.

The only required piece of information necessary to complete a patient transfer is the completed EMTALA form.

The following information is useful, but not needed to facilitate a transport:

  • Patient demographics/face sheet
  • pertinent lab results
  • radiology studies
  • 12-Lead ECG if completed

LifeFlight Eagle encourages the use of the attached Helicopter Early Launch Process Guidelines and Air Medical Transport Utilization Guidelines adopted by the Missouri SAC air ambulance subcommittee.

LifeFlight Eagle is also available for air-standby. Air-standby means LifeFlight Eagle will head towards the scene/hospital where a potential patient is, and if air ambulance is not needed, LifeFlight Eagle will return to base with no cost to the patient or requesting agency.

Trauma Triage Protocols: LifeFlight Eagle will transport trauma patients to the closest, most-appropriate trauma center based on the attached CDC 2011 Guidelines for Field Triage of Injured Patients. LifeFlight Eagle encourages the use of these guidelines when determining the necessity to utilize air transport of your patient.

Preparation of the patient: LifeFlight Eagle will arrive at the scene or at patient bedside, and then transfer the patient over to our aircraft sled. If able and time allows, place the patient on a sheet or device that will allow easy movement of the patient to the aircraft sled. The LifeFlight Eagle crew will secure all patient belongings and speak with the patient to let them know the process, and may ask for your assistance to load the patient in the helicopter.

Patient Consent Form: The LifeFlight Eagle crew will have the patient sign a consent form. If the patient is unable to sign, the crew will have the patient's designated family member or other representative sign the form.

LifeFlight Eagle strives to minimize the time at the patient bedside (prior to transport) or at a scene to expedite patient transport to tertiary facility. Patient safety and providing the highest quality critical care is our most important mission. That includes making a thorough patient assessment, carefully moving the patient and transferring all medical equipment and medications to LifeFlight Eagle equipment. 

For interfacility transfers, it is helpful to have the patient in a gown, jewelry removed, and belongings gathered and packaged (given to a family member if possible).