Mar 22, 2016
Looking past hospital discharges, by KSB Chief Medical Officer Tim Appenheimer, M.D.
We “old-timers” remember the early 1980s, before the construction of the surgical wings, when First Street and Dixon Avenue intersected exactly where the main entrance to the hospital is now located.
So …the exit door for patients being discharged was located at the very top of the First Street hill. In those days, hospitals had little responsibility for the care of the patient once she was wheeled out the front door of the hospital. It is almost as if we were willing to roll the patient out the front door, give them a gentle push on the back of the wheelchair and send them down the hill.
Fast-forward to 2016: We now look at healthcare from the patient’s perspective. For the patient, a coordinated transition from KSB to the next level of care –usually home or to a long-term care (LTC) facility– can mean the difference between a successful recovery or a readmission. This is especially true of our most fragile population, our nursing home patients.
Our area is fortunate to have a number of LTC facilities. Over the past several months, I have come to know staff members at several of these facilities. I am impressed by the caring and commitment that I see in the leaders of these organizations. Local media reports notwithstanding, there are many positive things happening in nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the Dixon area.
Our chief nursing officer, Linda Clemen, has spearheaded a collaboration between KSB and local LTC facilities to smooth transitions to and from the hospital. This includes standardizing how clinical information flows to and from the LTC as patients move, optimizing paper and electronic information flow. The medical directors at many local facilities are KSB physicians, helping to provide a closer link between KSB and our LTC sister organizations.
KSB’s mission includes the words “restore, maintain and enhance health”. This is accomplished best through productive partnerships with our LTC community.