A trauma unit is an integral part of both the hospital and the wider community within which it exists. In many ways, trauma units and emergency departments are the front lines of the healthcare system. It’s where the sickest and most seriously injured people go to receive care before being admitted or transferred to a different hospital. Every day, trauma units see injuries caused by anything from vehicle collisions to assault to sports injuries. Often, the medical attention that patients receive when they arrive in the trauma unit saves their lives.
For that reason, it’s imperative that trauma units function as a well-oiled machine, with well-trained providers, adequate resources, and specialized equipment. To that end, Nazareth Project is pleased to announce that the Nazareth Hospital has recently been named the recipient of an award in the amount of $1.5 million from American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA), a branch of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The funding will be used to expand the trauma unit of Nazareth Hospital.
The expansion of the Hospital’s trauma unit comes at an opportune time, and will address current shortcomings in the Hospital’s emergency services.
At present, patients suffering from multi-injury trauma must be transferred to other medical facilities to receive the care they need. While necessary, this can be problematic for a couple of reasons. First, the process of transferring patients means a delay in receiving vital care. While there doesn’t seem to be a difference in the survival of patients who are transferred versus those who are not, one study published in 2022 suggests that transferred patients are more likely to experience longer hospital stays and higher rates of admission to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
On top of that, patients with severe injuries who are transferred are often separated from their families who may have sustained milder injuries. In a culturally and linguistically diverse country like Israel, that may mean being taken to a healthcare facility where the providers might not speak their language.
Nazareth Hospital serves as the primary acute care and trauma hospital for both the city of Nazareth and the greater region. All told, over 250,000 people who live in the area depend on the Hospital for care—not to mention the hundreds of thousands of tourists who come to the city each year to see the birthplace of Jesus and other significant sites. Last year, Nazareth Hospital recorded around 260,000 patient visits.
The pivotal role that Hospital plays has prompted the Israeli Ministry of Health to call for the expansion of its multi-trauma services. The award from ASHA/USAID will be used to purchase new equipment for the expanded trauma unit, hopefully reducing the need for transfers to other facilities with specialized equipment.
In addition to responding to injuries after they happen, part of the critical work that the Nazareth Hospital does involves community health education and injury prevention.
For example, the emergency department at Nazareth Hospital treats victims of domestic and/or sexual violence. In addition to developing resources specifically these patients, the Hospital has also committed to working with the wider Nazareth community to identify risk factors for domestic and sexual violence and developing strategies to prevent future incidences of violence.
Other plans for health education and injury prevention include a Bicycle Safety Day event, where kids and young adults will receive free helmets and learn important bike safety practices. This event is designed to decrease the number of preventable traumatic injuries that result from unsafe riding habits.
While funding from ASHA/USAID will go a long way towards keeping the Nazareth community safer and healthier, there is still much work to be done. ASHA grants cannot be applied toward administrative, management, or reporting costs, which will necessarily expand as the trauma unit does. As such, Nazareth Hospital is soliciting contributions from donors to ensure that we are able to grow our infrastructure to support the new trauma unit.
The Nazareth Project is the primary US partner of the Nazareth Trust, an organization dedicated to serving the population of the Middle East and the wider world through healthcare, education, proclamation, and service. Our work and mission are rooted in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, though we are committed to serving all peoples, regardless of faith, political affiliation, or tradition. The offerings of the Trust include the Nazareth Hospital and the Nazareth Academic School of Nursing, as well as Nazareth Village and the SERVE Nazareth program, both of which allow patients, students, volunteers, pilgrims, and tourists to deepen their relationship with God and one another. Contact us today for more information on our programs, or consider donating to support our work!