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CHH Paramedics Provide Glucose Monitor, Other Training to Local Firefighters

March 15, 2022

When it comes to learning the very latest in medical technology and reporting, members of the Torrington Fire Department (TFD) have a friend and educator in Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (CHH) EMS Coordinator and Paramedic Trish Wain. The TFD's monthly training sessions are conducted by Trish and members of the CHH Paramedic Intercept Service at station headquarters, giving firefighters a unique opportunity to learn and practice the latest upgrades and techniques they use to help save lives every day. “Spending time with our local first responders is very rewarding because we are able to train together and share expertise and experiences when it comes to emergency care,” said Trish Wain, EMS Coordinator, CHH Department of Emergency Medical Services. In the most recent session, she reviewed the basics of the latest Contour blood glucose monitor, an effective tool when responders get to a scene with a patient who is a known diabetic, unresponsive, suspected stroke or has altered mental status or trauma. The training involved understanding the signs and symptoms of high and low blood sugar, and practicing hands-on use and maintenance of glucose monitors, and how to read and interpret results. All patients with Type 1 diabetes and about a third of patients with Type 2 diabetes require insulin to maintain glucose control.  Although it was discovered 100 years ago, insulin's limiting factor remains low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Severe hypoglycemia can be life-threatening. “The use of finger stick blood glucose monitoring by first responders enables them to rapidly recognize this complication in an unconscious person with diabetes and administer lifesaving glucose,” said CHH Endocrinologist Dr. Egils Bogdanovics. During previous trainings, CHH have also helped the first responders navigate needed, yet sometimes time consuming, paperwork requirements by offering tips and best practices for adding to electronic medical records (EMR), and completing patient assessments and other forms of required documentation. “The CHH Paramedic Team helps us enhance our skill sets so we can better respond to the needs of the people we serve. This has had a great impact on the community and is paying huge dividends for all involved,” said Robert J. Shopey, Assistant Chief, Torrington Fire Department. “Trish and Fred Rosa, the Hospital’s EMS Manager, are always so helpful and available when we need them. The time and energy of the CHH staff is invaluable. I cannot say enough about the training they provide as our community partner and the positive effect it has on our patient care at the scene of an emergency." The CHH Paramedic Intercept Service, based at the CHH Emergency Department, acts when asked by the local Litchfield County dispatch with a primary role to help provide advanced life support assistance to rural volunteer ambulance units that operate in many towns in Northwest Connecticut. There are many benefits to having local paramedics as part of a rapid response team as they are skilled at determining scene safety and immediately identifying environmental hazards. Using their enhanced assessment skills, paramedics are also able to quickly determine airway, breathing, circulatory and disability status of patients. The CHH paramedic team has board certified critical care paramedics with additional certifications in ACLS, PALS and trauma care, as well as credentialing for an expanded scope that includes RSI capabilities and critical care transport.