The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has granted $4.2 million to help 31 hospitals, health care centers, tribal health centers, and mobile care units throughout Nevada purchase a total of 52 ultrasound imaging devices.
Banner Churchill Community Hospital's $139,574 grant from the Trust has been used to purchase three General Electric Venue Go point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) machines, movable devices that are used at the patient's side for immediate assessment of their condition to quickly determine a course of action.
Banner Hospital CEO Rob Carnahan is “super excited” about receiving the new devices. “The Helmsley Trust is an amazing thing for us, especially now that hospital finances across the country are getting harder and harder. We have limited capital dollars to invest in equipment, and with the high cost of labor, and supply costs skyrocketing we are getting less capital dollars to spend on equipment like this.”
Carnahan applied for the grant and said it was a significant process. “I did it myself when I heard about the grant after first getting Banner's approval to apply. A little bit of work went a long way to apply with Helmsley as point of care is significant. We chose GE as they had the best device offerings. It's an investment in Nevada and in our community. It helps our providers do better patient care. CRNAs, the anesthesia nurses, and the other nurses, they are all excited especially after working with the old unit. We are blessed to have received this grant.” Funds will also be used for continuing education, and new training opportunities to increase the number of sonographers here.
It can be so difficult finding a vein sometimes, especially in older people and children whose veins can be tiny and their skin fragile. “I'm a nurse and have used ultrasounds to start IVs. These units are so very helpful, especially on those small veins,” Carnahan said.
“This will impact our patients so nicely. One of the new devices will go to the Surgery team to put in epidurals and get IVs started correctly. We used to just have one device that was shared between Surgery, Infusion, upstairs in the clinic. It was always a hunt to find it. Now we have one ordered for Surgery, and one for the general surgery and orthopedic clinic upstairs. The third new one be predominately used in the Infusion Department and will also travel across the hospital if needed to get IVs started along with the old unit.”
The hospital's original mobile ultrasound device is 15 or 20 years old, and the visual images are not as high definition as they are now. The probes used to start an IV don't provide the clarity provided by the new technology. “Equipment really has to be upgraded, and Helmsley really helped us out. We were able to now invest in other things such as the new ambulance because the grant helped us to offset some capital dollars. We move to ensure we are taking great care of our patients and of the community.”
The new devices are expected to be received at the hospital within the next two months, and while ultrasound units are expensive, they are much less so than an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Ultrasound machines use high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures inside the body. They are used by diagnostic medical sonographers (DMS) or ultrasound technicians to understand the causes of pain, infection, and swelling, and for exams that check the development of a fetus. Nurses use them to effectively insert IV lines and other IV line treatments.
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust’s mission is to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in health care and other initiatives. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $500 million to organizations and initiatives in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, Montana, and Nevada. More information about the trust can be found on its website, www.helmsleytrust.org.
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