Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Awards $500,000 to G-60 Trauma Patient Unit

The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust has awarded a capital grant of $500,000 to renovate four hospital rooms for trauma patients in the G-60 program at John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital, home to the Valley's northernmost Level 1 Trauma Center.

"We are grateful for the generous support and partnership of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust," said Marcia Mintz, CEO of the John C. Lincoln Health Foundation, which received the gift. "This outstanding gift allows us to increase our ability to deliver exceptional quality care and service for patients over the age of 60."

John C. Lincoln's G-60 program for geriatric trauma patients over age 60 — the first of its kind in Arizona — was launched in June 2012 by trauma surgeon Alicia Mangram, MD, medical director for North Mountain's Trauma Services, to provide expedited treatment plans and intensified care for trauma patients aged 60 or older.

The G-60 program at John C. Lincoln was specifically designed by Dr. Mangram as a second-generation service model, based on innovation she started in Dallas, Texas.

"Research tells us that trauma patients age 60 or older sustain more serious injuries than younger trauma patients with similar mechanism of injury," Dr. Mangram said. "These include events such as falls, motor vehicle collisions and gunshot wounds.

"Trauma injuries in the elderly frequently are compounded by chronic medical conditions and interactions between the numerous drugs older patients are taking," Dr. Mangram said. "Geriatric trauma patients often experience more complications than their younger counterparts.

"We know that outcomes after trauma are strongly correlated with increasing age," Dr. Mangram said. "That means patients 60 and over need more attentive and complex care to achieve the same optimal outcomes experienced by younger patients. Trauma care for older patients needs to be distinct from care received for similar injuries incurred by younger trauma patients."

Based on those observations and her experience while serving as a trauma surgeon and medical director of a Surgical Intensive Care unit out of state, Dr. Mangram developed a multidisciplinary program to address the issues.

Arizona is among the top five states nationally for the pace of aging. The resident population bubble known as Baby Boomers is aging, and that population is bolstered by retirees from other parts of the country to move to Arizona for its climate. The growing elderly population equates to increasing health care needs, not least of which is geriatric trauma care.

G-60 patients receive regular visits from a multidisciplinary clinical team led by the trauma surgeon that makes rounds to evaluate each older patient's progress and needs. The G-60 team includes trauma surgeons, trauma nurse practitioners and coordinators, hospitalists, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, floor nurse supervisors, nutritionists, physical/occupational/speech therapists, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, social workers and case managers.

This facilitates better care coordination and improved patient outcomes. "The trained and committed multidisciplinary team approach results in expedited triage, optimized chronic illness management and safe pre-planned discharge," Dr. Mangram said.

The patient rooms that will be renovated, thanks to the Piper Trust grant, are adjacent to each other and will form a unit for older trauma patients and will be conducive to rounding by the G-60 multidisciplinary team.

The G-60 rooms will be equipped with telemetry to monitor heart rhythms and other vital signs, and extra grab bars to prevent falls. Specialized lighting and larger clocks will improve sensory orientation. Transformation of these private rooms will include furniture conducive to extended or even overnight family visits.

Dr. Mangram has a game plan for G-60 aimed at achieving performance targets including trauma patient satisfaction and over-all quality service to the community. "I believe G-60 will improve quality of care, prevent complications due to trauma and serious injury, reduce costs and save lives of G-60 patients," she said.

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