New Programs Help Reduce Hospital Stays and Re-Admissions

Caring for the elderly presents unique challenges, and keeping our residents out of the hospital, or from being re-admitted after a hospital stay, is our top priority.

Recently, we implemented two innovative programs that are already helping us achieve our goal. One is a new Falls Reduction Program and the other is a Respiratory Education Program provided by a full-time respiratory therapist.

The Witherell’s Falls Reduction Program was spearheaded by Edward Omondi, RN,BSN, MBA, Director of Nursing, who combined his healthcare and business acumen to examine data over a three month period to determine peak times when the elderly were susceptible to falls or injury. The detailed data helped pinpoint key times—late afternoon and early evening—when the elderly were more likely to sustain an injury, largely due to fatigue or confusion. With that information, Omondi and the nursing staff worked with the Witherell’s recreation department to create joint activities tailored specifically to the residents who required the most supervision, so that they could be engaged, supervised, and supported whenever needed.

“Our most vulnerable residents are getting a two-fold benefit—they can pursue a special program that they’ll really enjoy, and at the same time be in the company of our nursing team for support if it is needed,” notes Omondi. “Our recreation department, led by Carissa Ronish, and our RN’s, LPN’s, and CNA’s have all worked together to make this a highly enjoyable and effective program.”

In addition to the Falls Reduction Program, The Witherell has also implemented a comprehensive Respiratory Education Program in the short-term rehabilitation unit for residents dealing with issues like COPD, asthma, or pneumonia. A full time respiratory therapist, Brian Mestek from O2 Safe Solutions in Wallingford, CT, treats, rehabilitates, and educates residents to reduce hospital re-admissions and to transition patients from a hospital setting to short-term rehab sooner.

“The #1 reason for hospital re-admission is respiratory issues,” notes Omondi. “By fully educating residents about how to take care of respiratory issues through a program that is customized to the individual, we are seeing a significant decline in re-admissions.” The standard hospital re-admission rate for COPD patients is currently 22%. Programs like the one at the Witherell have been credited with reducing re-admissions to just 5%.

“Engaging our residents in activities to prevent falls, and providing them with education as well as rehabilitation for respiratory issues, goes a long way to prevent hospital admissions or re-admissions,” says Allen Brown, executive director at The Nathaniel Witherell.

Many thanks to our innovative health care team for creating and implementing these programs to keep our residents safe, healthy, and happy!

 

 

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