Page 8 - Volume 13 Number 1
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 The hamlet of Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut, during winter 2018. The challenge of working in frigid weather and low light (the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon during the winter in Canada’s arctic) is what draws many people to the artic and Keewatin Air.
accompany the patient on the airplane until the patient arrived at the receiving hospital or facility. Oftentimes, the medical equipment and supplies coming from the nursing station were not suitable for air transport. Another issue was that the nursing station would remain short-staffed for several days while staff was ferried back. The cost of overtime and transportation for the nurses in these situations threatened the future of the nursing stations.
Sensing that this operational structure wasn’t sustainable and knowing that these remote northern communities needed the nursing stations, Keewatin Air championed the idea with local authorities that the airline versus the nursing stations could be responsible for providing medical personnel.
The first Keewatin Air Medevac/Emergency Air Ambulance division was born in 1986 when the company hired experienced registered nurses and purchased proper air ambulance medical equipment. In 2003 Keewatin Air signed its first formal service contract to provide air medical services for the Government of Nunavut. This included providing flight nurses and establishing numerous northern bases to improve reliability in the harsh Canadian Arctic.
“To improve the quality of our services, and establish a network of team collaboration, Keewatin Air developed an aeromedical cross-training program for nurses and pilots, and also provided this same training to medical personnel in the community,” McLeod said. “These collaboration efforts helped ensure proper and efficient preparation of the patient for transport and improved the overall transportation experience for all stakeholders.”
Over the next few years Keewatin rapidly evolved while continually improving its operations, including creating an internal training program; developing comprehensive medevac policies, procedures and medical care protocols; producing a Total Quality Management Program (TQMP) including an extensive statistical data management program; and establishing an effective human resources program.
Employing all staff required to provide air ambulance services is a different approach and is what sets Keewatin Air apart from other providers.
“We find this allows us to set the bar high and provides all of our staff – from maintenance to pilots to medical crews – the understanding of what goes into a medevac mission,” McLeod said. “Our pilots and medical crews are cross-trained to develop an understanding of what
    JANUARY 2019

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