Programs that make lifesaving techniques and equipment available to patients with acutely life-threatening illnesses or injuries who require continuous observation and, in many cases, intensive therapeutic intervention by trained medical staff. Intensive care is provided in special units or distinct parts of health care facilities that are designed for this purpose.
Programs that utilize trained medical technicians who assist in rescue operations and provide preliminary emergency medical treatment for individuals who are acutely ill or injured on the scene and/or during transit to a health care facility. There are four levels of EMTs, the highest being paramedics who are permitted to administer drugs orally and intravenously, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs), perform endotracheal intubations and use monitors and other complex equipment. In most communities, paramedic/EMT services are structured as separate entities on a par with police and fire departments, are organized as a branch of another municipal department, such as the public health department, or are integrated into the operations of another municipal emergency service such as the local fire department or police department. Under the latter model, personnel may be cross-trained to perform both functions. Paramedics/EMTs are dispatched when residents contact 911 with a medical emergency and are not accessed directly.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.