ShandsCair is the pre-hospital and critical care transport system of UF Health Shands Hospital. We strive to deliver excellence in patient care during transport utilizing specialized teams, vehicles and equipment in a safe, cost effective manner. Our objective is to improve patient outcomes. ShandsCair provides transport and specialized care by way of fixed wing aircraft, helicopter, ground ambulance, and medical van. The ShandsCair helicopters are IFR capable aircraft and typically transports patients from pre-hospital scenes within a 75 mile radius from each base covering 25 counties. Community hospital emergency rooms and ICU’s up to a 360 mile radius are also serviced by helicopter. ShandsCair 1 is located UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, ShandsCair 2 is located in Summerfield (Marion County) and ShandsCair 3 is located in Perry (Taylor County). ShandsCair 5 is located in Lynn Haven (Bay County). ShandsCair 6 is in Milton (Santa Rosa County). ShandsCair has 4 Neo/Peds teams. Two located at UF Health Shands. One in Pensacola. One in Destin. The fixed wing service covers both domestic and international range. Care is provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is coordinated through the ShandsCair Communication Center, by the program’s Communication/Transportation Specialists.

ShandsCair also has an active ground transport program. Ambulances are in service 24 hours a day. Ambulances are dedicated to the both the Springhill and Kanapaha Freestanding Emergency Centers and are responsible for transporting patients to the main facility for admission or additional testing. The transport teams have the option of utilizing ambulance transport for interfacility transfers in lieu of air transport when appropriate. Additionally, a ground ambulance and crew are available for transport of patients back to referring facilities, or to nursing homes or other locations. The ground ambulance does not respond to pre-hospital calls unless mutual aid support is specifically requested by an agency in a disaster situation.

Description of Patient Populations

ShandsCair consists of the Neonatal/Pediatric Flight Team, the Adult/Pediatric Flight Team, the Critical Care Ground Transport Team, and the Communications Team.

The Neonatal Flight Team transports infants and children up to 5 years of age. This team is composed of a neonatal Registered Nurse and a Registered Respiratory Therapist. The primary diagnosis of patients transported by this team is infants born prematurely with respiratory or cardiac compromise and other medical or surgical anomalies.

The Adult/Pediatric Flight Team is composed of a Registered Nurse/Paramedic and a Critical Care Paramedic. This team transports pre-hospital patients of all ages and interfacility patients greater than 30 days through the geriatric population. The primary diagnoses of patients transported by this team consist of multi-trauma, neurosurgical emergencies, surgical emergencies and medical emergencies. Average flight time is one hour. Procedures commonly performed are:

  • invasive and noninvasive monitoring
  • peripheral, arterial and central line placement
  • airway management (intubation, cricothyrotomy)
  • advanced life support procedures
  • trauma management

The Critical Care Ground Transport Teams are composed of a Critical Care Transport Paramedic and an EMT ambulance driver. This team staffs the ground transport ambulances.

Unit Management/Personnel

The medical director of the Neonatal/Pediatric flight team is provided by a board-certified neonatologist. The medical director of the Adult/Pediatric flight team and the Critical Care Ground Transport Team is provided by a board-certified emergency physician. Medical directors or their designees are accessible 24 hours a day. Attending physicians in the neonatal intensive care unit and the emergency department are available via radio and telephone for emergent intervention when required. Administrative staff is on call at all times. The management team consists of a Program Director, two Operations Managers, Two Chief Flight Nurses, A full time and 2 part-time Clinical Educators, A Business Manager and a Communication/Transportation Supervisor, as well as base leads for each base or team.

The staffing pattern is varied. The Adult-Pediatric flight team is staffed by a duly certified RN/Paramedic and a Paramedic. The Neonatal-Pediatric flight team is staffed by a Neonatal RN and a Respiratory Therapist. The Critical Care Ambulance is staffed by a critical care paramedic and an EMT driver. The Dispatch/Communications center is staffed by Certified Communication/Transportation Specialists (who are also either an EMT or a Paramedic) and ShandsCair has a part-time Financial Representative and full-time Administrative Assistant.

Neonatal/Pediatric flight team members include: one Registered Nurse and one Registered Respiratory Therapist. ARNP’s occasionally staff as the RN. Basic requirements include:

  • current state license
  • current BLS, PALS, NRP, ENPC, and AMCCC
  • completion of a 20 hour transport certification course
  • 4000 hours RN experience including 2000 hours in a level II or III NICU experience
  • advanced skills credentialing completed on a quarterly basis

The Adult/Pediatric flight team members are licensed Registered Nurses/Paramedics and Paramedics. ARNP’s occasionally staff as the RN.
Basic requirements include:

  • current state license
  • state paramedic certification
  • current BLS, ACLS, trauma certification, pediatric certification, NRP, AMCCC
  • advanced skills credentialing on a quarterly basis
  • minimum of two years critical care experience

The Critical Care Ground transport paramedic is a licensed Paramedic. Basic requirements include:

  • current state paramedic certification
  • current BLS, ACLS, PALS EPC or PEPP; ITLS or PHTLS, completion of a Critical Care Paramedic course and NRP preferred and required within one year of employment.
  • Advanced skills credentialing on a quarterly basis
  • Minimum of two years pre-hospital EMS/ambulance experience.

The Communication/Transportation specialists are responsible for dispatching all ShandsCair helicopters and ground transfers. Flight following and helicopter position reports are a priority. They monitor and assist all incoming outside helicopter programs that transport patients into UF Health (while in our area). Additionally, they take verbal patient report from all ambulances arriving at UF Health. A summarized patient report is then passed on to the ED charge nurse or unit charge nurse and entered into a computer log system. The communication/transport specialist is also responsible for creation and tracking of all transport (patient) charts. They also communicate with all in-bound ambulances, and page out alerts to the hospital organization.

The administrative assistant is responsible for all daily office functions, including correspondence, allocating equipment, coordinating various activities and managing billing activities.

Reviewed 1/6/2021

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