The Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts (CFNCM) recently awarded a $28,300 grant to Nashoba Valley EMS, Inc. for the purchase of point-of-care ultrasound equipment for each of its ambulances. This technology will help paramedics provide more accurate assessments and care in the field. The funds were distributed from CFNCM's Critical Needs COVID-19 Response Fund.

"Nashoba Valley EMS serves approximately 70,000 residents in its region, which includes a rapidly aging population that is increasing the demands on the local health care system," said Stephen Adams, president of the CFNCM. "The COVID-19 pandemic has added to this pressure. With this new equipment, paramedics will be able to better determine the severity of internal injuries in the field, which will both aid in transport decisions to trauma centers and enable them to provide life-saving care in the field."

Point-of-care ultrasound is a clinical imaging technology used as part of newly approved indications of Extended Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (EFAST) and confirmation of cardiac standstill after cardiac arrest. Current generation EMS ultrasound probes are portable, battery powered devices slightly larger than a stethoscope, which connect to a smartphone or tablet to produce detailed ultrasound images of internal anatomic structures.

EFAST aids paramedics in several ways. It can help:

  • Determine if there is active bleeding in the abdomen of victims of trauma, which both aids in making appropriate triage decisions and in alerting hospital trauma teams of the presence of this serious finding.
  • Detect a tension pneumothorax (collapsed lung), the identification of which can be lifesaving if needle decompression is performed in the field by the paramedics.
  • Determine the effectiveness of ongoing CPR efforts.

"We are grateful to receive this funding," said Martin Scott, president of Nashoba Valley EMS and captain/paramedic of Townsend Fire-EMS. "This equipment will greatly aid in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic as our health system continues to be overwhelmed treating patients affected with the virus. The new ultrasound equipment will allow us to better assess situations in the field, reducing the burden on our taxed hospital system and providing faster care to the populations we serve."

Nashoba Valley EMS serves communities including Groton, Ayer, Shirley, Littleton, Lunenburg, Devens, Pepperell, Ashby, Harvard and Townsend, and provides mutual aid to other cities and towns they border.