What is Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support

Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS) provides emergency care to patients outside hospital settings.

This course teaches individuals to deliver life-saving treatment to those with life-threatening injuries/illnesses.

It extends the patient’s survivability by helping them maintain normal body functions until they reach a healthcare facility.

Who Requires Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support?

Various healthcare professionals receive Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support training.

It includes emergency medical technicians (EMT), Advanced emergency medical technicians (AEMT), First Responders, Nurse Practitioners (NP), Paramedics, Registered Nurses (RN), and other medical professionals.

Healthcare Specialists who Take PHTLS:

  • Emergency medical services
  • Advanced emergency medical technicians
  • First responders
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Registered nurses
  • Paramedics

Those who train in PHTLS learn to identify and assess a patient’s health to determine whether it’s trauma-related.

Determining life-threatening injuries and providing medical intervention allows them to prolong the patient’s life.

These interventions focus on maintaining organ functions and brain health until the patient reaches the hospital.

PHTLS classes enable medical experts to identify fire/water/electrical burns and airway obstructions.

Healthcare professionals learn essential airway management, trauma management, and resuscitation skills.

They also learn to treat bone fractures and breaks, manage cardiovascular complications like heart attacks, seizures, and shock/hypoxemia, and handle blunt trauma injuries.

Finally, healthcare professionals learn to manage illnesses and brain/heart complications requiring pre-hospital care.

PHTLS Course Lessons:

  • Identifying various injuries
  • Airway management
  • Trauma management
  • Resuscitation skills
  • How to treat fractures and breaks
  • Managing cardiovascular complications
  • Treat blunt trauma injuries

What Does PHTLS Teach?

PHTLS training comprises several sections, segments, and body parts.

It includes body part segments, assessment of sensory functions, motor response and verbal response, type of injury, type of illness, and respiratory and organ functions.

PHTLS helps medical practitioners better understand and identify various medical injuries/illnesses.

As a result, they can provide adequate and appropriate interventions to treat the disease or injury effectively.

Body Part Segments:

  • Head
  • Neck
  • Thorax
  • Chest
  • Abdomen
  • Back
  • Pelvis
  • Legs

Assessment of Sensory Functions, Motor Response, and Verbal Response:

  • Sight
  • Sound
  • Smell
  • Touch
  • Taste

Type of Injury:

  • Burns
  • Lacerations
  • Bleeding
  • Wounds
  • Blocked airway passage
  • Hypothermia
  • Bone fractures/breaks
  • Blunt traumas

Type of Illness/Medical Complication:

  • Seizure
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack

Respiratory and Organ Functions:

  • Breathing
  • Heart rate
  • Blood circulation
  • Body temperature
  • Skin coloring

And numerous other injuries/illness topics related to pre-hospital trauma life support.

Finding a Good PHTLS Course

Those interested in learning about Prehospital Trauma Life Support can do so through various online resources.

It includes the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

You can also find additional information in your local community.

Look for PHTLS courses through a local college, university, library, hospital, or healthcare facility.

Finally, consider using the NAEMT course directory to find specific programs, courses, and coordinators.

The course directory provides an outstanding list of courses and refreshers throughout the United States and worldwide.

The Prehospital Trauma Life Support training program is relatively short compared to other advanced emergency courses.

It takes approximately 16 hours to complete the lessons and obtain PHTLS certification.

As a result, healthcare providers quickly acquire training over two days (depending on where they take the course).

The following sections explore some of the most frequently asked questions about Prehospital Trauma Life Support.

What Does PHTLS Stand For?

PHTLS stands for Prehospital Trauma Life Support.

The purpose of PHTLS is to provide life-saving emergency care and procedures to individuals outside a hospital setting.

As a result, emergency medical services, first responders, and trauma units may receive essential PHTLS training.

How Lengthy Are The PHTLS Courses?

Prehospital Trauma Life Support courses are approximately 16 hours long, according to NAEMT.

Students can pursue 16 hours of classroom courses or participate in a hybrid PHTLS course.

The hybrid course consists of 8 hours of online courses followed by 8 hours of classroom lessons.

After completing the necessary coursework students receive 16 hours of CAPCE credit.

The Commission on Accreditation for Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE) maintains standards for the delivery of emergency medical services (EMS) continuing education.

How Long is PHTLS Certification Good For?

Prehospital Trauma Life Support certification lasts approximately four years or 48 months from the date of certification.

Nevertheless, you must check with NAEMT and your PHTLS training program to determine the length of validation.

EMS and healthcare specialists with PHTLS certification must renew it every 48 months to avoid it becoming invalid.

What About PHTLS Recertification / Refresher Course?

Every four years PHTLS certificate holders must recertify their credentials by taking a refresher course to keep them valid.

It takes approximately 8 hours to complete the recertification/refresher course and maintain PHTLS certification.

It enables emergency medical services to remain updated on procedures and technology necessary to perform PHTLS.

In addition, the refresher course ensures EMS still understands how to properly perform Prehospital Trauma Life support.

EMS and healthcare specialists who do not take a PHTLS refresher course on time must retake the entire PHTLS course.

The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians supplies the PHTLS refresher course.

What is a PHTLS Hybrid Course?

A Prehospital Trauma Life Support hybrid course combines in-class education with online lessons.

Those who pursue PHTLS hybrid courses spend 8 hours of their training in online courses.

The other 8 hours are spent in person in a classroom setting.

Many emergency medical service workers have extremely busy personal and professional lives.

As a result, the PHTLS hybrid course provides more flexibility for those unable to spend 16 hours setting in a classroom.

The 8-hour online module covers the didactic portion of the 16-hour course.

After that, students spend an additional 8 hours acquiring the remainder of their PHTLS education and training in person.

When Was PHTLS Developed?

In 1978, trauma care received a notable boost thanks to the provision of the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) course.

In 1983, a PHTLS committee was founded to provide EMS with sufficient training on Prehospital Trauma Life Support.

By 1998, the U.S. Military vigorously implemented PHTLS to ensure their medics received this vital life-saving training.

PHTLS aims to ensure EMS receives adequate training to deliver life-saving procedures outside of the hospital.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) has teamed with Stonybrook Trauma Center to develop PHTLS and promote trauma care education.