The Critical Care Transport Unit Program was created to fill the need for critically ill patient transportation between hospital intensive care units. These critically ill patients are characterized by specialized needs that include:
- patients who need a higher level of intensive care.
- patients who are already on a number of medications via IV and infusions etc.
- patients who have a broader spectrum of needs.
- patients who have a higher expectation for deterioration en-route.
The mission of the CCTU is to provide medically appropriate and functionally sound transport for critically ill patients in the greater Toronto area.
The CCTU program expands on the level III paramedic’s skills due to increased medical control, longer transport times, different level of comfort required due to extended time spent with critically ill patients, medical staff communication with expected higher level scope of practice, and physician to physician transfers require a higher level of medical accountability.
CCTU paramedics are senior advanced care paramedics (level III) with enhanced assessment skills. Many have flight experience and are certified to practice by the Base Hospital physician. The paramedic’s skills are maintained with enhanced continuing medical education. Toronto Paramedic Services currently has 25 CCTU paramedics.
The CCTU program can expect its greatest use during the summer trauma season. During the summer people are more active. Cottage trips and parties, boating, swimming, cycling, car and motorcycle accidents all increase the demand for paramedic services. The Air Ambulance (799) is more active during this time which also contributes to the demand for land based patient transfers.
CCTU patients are pre-selected based on level of care required. These patients are greater then 12 years old and will have one or more of the following features;
- PA or arterial monitoring
- Advanced airway and ventilatory requirements
- Drug infusions/pumps
- Blood products administration
- Chest drainage
The CCTU program has been modeled after the Flight Critical Care Program and has established medical control. The paramedic crews can manage patients alone which prevents the loss of medical staff (RN, RT, MD) from the sending hospital.