Healthy Living

What is a Level 1 Trauma Center?

May. 2, 2024

Traumatic injuries are sudden injuries that require immediate medical attention, including brain or spinal cord injuries, burns, skull fractures, and more.

If you or a loved one suffers a traumatic injury, there's nothing more important than getting immediate, specialized care from specially trained medical teams. That’s where trauma centers come in.

Strong Memorial Hospital monroe county trauma center

Trauma centers are designated hospitals that are equipped to treat the most seriously injured patients. In fact, care at a trauma center lowers the risk of death for injured patients by at least 25%. That’s why patients with serious injuries are best treated at a trauma center, when available.

UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital is the only adult and pediatric level 1 trauma center in Rochester and the Finger Lakes Region and the only trauma center in Monroe County.

What is a Trauma Center?

A trauma center is a hospital that has the necessary equipment and highly trained personnel to treat serious, life-threatening injuries.

UR Medicine's Strong Memorial Hospital is the only trauma center in Rochester, NY. This means that the teams are continuously training and preparing to provide specialized medical services to patients suffering from traumatic injuries.

Did you know?
Currently, the Golisano Children's Hospital Pediatric Trauma Center is the only center in the Rochester area capable of treating children with burns.

Computer shows mock vital signs of simulation patient for trauma center training.

Some resources specific to a Trauma Center include:

  • Highly trained specialists
  • Operating rooms that are dedicated to trauma surgery
  • ICUs that specialize in the care of seriously injured patients
  • Step-down floors that can continue care as patients heal
  • Rehabilitation services to help injured patients overcome the effects of their injuries.

UR Medicine’s Kessler Burn & Trauma Center and Golisano Children’s Hospital Pediatric Trauma Center provide 24-hour access to high-quality trauma care for patients of all ages.

What is a Level 1 Trauma Center?

UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital and Golisano Children’s Hospital are home to the only level 1 pediatric and adult trauma center in the Finger Lakes Region.

Trauma center levels are determined by the American College of Surgeons—level 1 being the highest designation given to hospitals that can provide total care for every aspect of an injury, from prevention to rehabilitation.

Level 1 trauma centers must also meet high standards in education, community outreach, and research, including:

  • High standards of care: Including 24-hour, in-house coverage by general surgeons and prompt availability of additional specialties, including orthopaedics, neurosurgery, radiology, and more
  • Community outreach: Leadership in injury prevention and public education
  • Education: Continuing education and training of the trauma team members
  • Performance Improvement: Continual improvement through a comprehensive quality assessment program
  • Research: Organized research effort to help direct innovations in trauma care

What’s the Difference between a Trauma Center and an ED?

Care teams tend to fake patient during simulation for level 1 trauma training.

It’s a common misunderstanding that a trauma center and an emergency department are different units. However, a trauma center is a term to describe an entire hospital, including the ED.

A trauma center is a hospital that can address the needs of seriously injured patients at any time, from arrival through definitive care to discharge.

An emergency department or hospital without a trauma center designation can provide immediate interventions to save a life but it may not have access to the additional resources needed by a seriously injured patient.

What patients require transport to a trauma center?

Patients who are suffering from a life-threatening condition may require transport to a trauma center nearby. Common injuries treated in trauma centers include:

  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Stab wounds
  • Motorcycle crashes

Strong Memorial Hospital has both adult and pediatric trauma centers, allowing the teams to care for patients of all ages.

By donating blood, learn how you can help trauma patients, too

Advanced Emergency & Trauma Care

As the largest and most comprehensive, multidisciplinary trauma care team in Western New York, UR Medicine's adult and pediatric trauma centers provide 24-hour access to high-quality trauma care for patients of all ages.

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