SECAmb pioneering new protocol for spinal injury patients

South East Coast Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) is pioneering a new treatment protocol for spinal injury patients in the UK, designed to reform pre-hospital care and deliver better outcomes.  The ground-breaking concept has been successfully adopted in Australia, Norway and Denmark after evidence suggested that traditional methods that of securing a patient can cause further harm.

The new procedure marks the end of assistive devices such as neck braces and semi-rigid collars as it’s thought they provide little benefit. Rather, for ‘standard patients’, spinal precautions will be undertaken with manual in-line stabilisation methods followed by head blocks, tape and transferring the patient using a scoop stretcher.

Part of the process utilises the Mangar ELK Lifting Cushion, which is used to raise the patient on the  stretcher from the floor to trolley height. Used by ambulance services since 2006, the ELK requires minimal lifting from paramedics so reducing the risk of injury.

Paul Watts, Mangar Health’s Head of Emergency Services says, “we are always delighted to hear how our products are used to improve outcomes for patients and paramedics, but this development is particularly exciting.

“Spinal injury patients need particularly careful moving and by using a slide sheet ambulance crews can gently move patients onto a scoop stretcher, which is placed on the ELK.  Air is used to inflate the lifting cushion gradually, providing a stable and secure lift. Whilst being fully supported by a paramedics the stretcher can then be transferred safely onto a trolley.”

Led by SECAmb Critical Care Paramedic, Alan Cowley, the new approach follows a working group re-examining the Trust’s method towards treating spinal care to ensure guidelines are fit for modern pre-hospital practice.

Alan Cowley commented; “Severe spinal injury is a rare but potentially catastrophic event. Like many forms of trauma, the immediate actions following the accident can have a significant impact on the outcome. Our working group has, over the past two years, developed this guidance for our crews to ensure that our approach is in line with the latest evidence.

“The benefits include a reduced chance of a spinal injury being worsened, improved identification and care of spinal injury in older, frail and vulnerable patients and a more efficient use of resources, freeing up crews to respond to other 999 calls.”

In support of the new pioneering guidelines for spinal injury patients, Mangar Health have a great offer on our stretcher bars! Please get in contact with Paul Watts by calling 07975234293 or email pwatts@mangarhealth.com to find out more.



  • September 11, 2020
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