The following article is from Arkansas Hospitals magazine, a custom publication of Vowell, Inc., which also produces Arkansas Money & Politics.
SeniorCare Behavioral Health at Sparks Regional Medical Center now provides fleece jackets to patients, after identifying blankets as trip hazards among the psychiatric geriatric population. Staff was also concerned that the blankets could lead to infection control issues as well. The new fleece jackets allow patients to keep warm while participating in daily group therapies. It also gives them freedom of movement without dragging a blanket around. Since patients began using the jackets for warmth, the number of falls related to tripping on blankets has decreased and hasn’t been noted as a causal factor in patient falls in over 18 months.
– Alicia Agent
A recent half-day Baptist Health “System Update” was not the typical quarterly gathering of vice presidents, directors, managers and supervisors from around the system. Greeting the leaders as they entered their meeting were long tables filled with food and equipment for packing ready-to-serve meals. Donning hats and gloves, the leaders went to work packing an incredible 53,656 Pack Shack* meals to help fight hunger in area communities. The healthy meals included Arkansas rice, soy protein, dehydrated vegetables and 19 minerals and vitamins – all at a cost of 25 cents per meal. Baptist Health was honored to partner with the Pack Shack, Arkansas Foodbank, Feeding America and the Hunger Relief Alliance to help address needs of the one-in-five Arkansans suffering from hunger.
– Matt Dishongh
St. Bernards has set up a broad-based program of initiating change that draws on the knowledge and observation of our employees. We were looking for new ideas that would make tangible financial impacts by the end of our fiscal year by focusing on improving quality, reducing expenses or increasing revenue. An in-house leadership team worked with Risk Ventures Healthcare Analytics to develop a process to accept ideas, evaluate them and fast-track implementation of those deemed most promising. A resource team was assembled to do initial reviews of plans for the program, which is called “St. Bernards Excellence.” Ideas are entered through a designated portal on our intranet site. Individuals submitting the most promising ideas are invited to present them in a “Shark Tank” type setting, and ideas approved are assigned to appropriate leaders for implementation. We have been able to document additional revenue, decreases in length of stay, better utilization of staff and more. And it’s all because of great ideas from our employees!
– Rebecca Rasberry
Falls on a med-surg unit at North Arkansas Regional Medical Center were increasing despite implementation of huddles, rounding for success, fall assessments, staff education, fall contracts and fall process analysis. So, our Director of Nursing, Director of Quality, Chief Nursing Officer, Nurse Managers and front line staff came together to find a solution – The Fall Tree. It is a tree that was placed in the nurses’ station – at first with no leaves. For each day there are zero falls on the unit, the tree gains a leaf.If a fall occurs, the tree loses all of its leaves. At the end of each 30 days with no falls, an animal is added to the tree. All of our staff participate because they don’t want the tree to lose its leaves! Since we have introduced the Tree on the unit, we find that staff is more reactive to the call lights and more proactive with patient needs. Patients and families are part of the discussion about the Tree and what it means, including what it means if the leaves “fall” off. At the time of writing this article, we have 3 animals and over 90 leaves…and still counting! Because of The Fall Tree, patient outcomes have improved, staff is engaged and we have reduced the risk of this hospital-acquired condition. The Fall Tree is a visual commitment to our patients’ safety!
– Sammie Cribbs
We had two glaring concerns with patients admitted to Ozark Health Medical Center. Though they were given a variety of information upon admittance, many appeared not to know how to access the exact information they needed. This resulted either in multiple questions or no questions. Patients also felt very uncomfortable in the traditional open-backed hospital robes if they were in a recovery area of the facility.Our Director of Guest Services and Marketing Department came together to find solutions. To make our patients feel welcome and more comfortable, patients were offered their own Ozark Health tote bag with higher-end toiletries to fit their needs. Also inside the tote was a folder that contained very detailed information regarding their care at Ozark Health. We included a list of important phone numbers and a large-print TV channel guide, as well as handouts with helpful information about services that might be needed after discharge. Along with this, patients were presented with a spa-quality robe and hotel-grade pillow for their use while in the hospital to help them feel more at home while they are receiving the care they deserve. The new tote/robe/pillow kits are working so well! Our patients tell us they feel more at home, though in a hospital setting, and they are more informed about the services we offer both before and after their discharge. Patients are even speaking out on social media! One patient said, “I have never seen such hospitality in a setting such as this.” We believe the new Admit Kits improve our customer service, which is very important to Ozark Health Medical Center because our patients are the most important members of our team.
– Kortney Fowler
Located in a retirement community with a large number of veterans and elderly persons suffering from Parkinson’s disease, Baxter Regional Medical Center (BRMC) saw the need for a program that would help patients reduce the impact of this illness and regain some control. The Baxter Regional Hospital Foundation and several prominent community members got together to bring in the Rock Steady Boxing Program, a non-contact boxing exercise program that works to move all planes of a person’s body through forceful and intense exercise. “Fighters” are given a measured assessment at the beginning of their training and again every six months to monitor progress, and all of them have experienced remarkable improvement. BRMC is currently serving 20 community members through this program, and is always taking more recruits. BRMC wants to help patients win their fight against Parkinson’s!
– Tobias Pugsley
Our concept was to promote circulation and decrease the occurrence of pressure ulcers caused from patients sitting in one spot most of the day at Unity Health’s Clearview Unit (inpatient geriatric behavioral health). The Hospital-Acquired Pressure Ulcer Prevention Team came up with the solution of “Boogie Time” to get patients up and moving aside from their regular meal and bath intervals. At 9 and 11 a.m., and again at 2, 4 and 7 p.m., lively music is played in the Dayroom, and any of our patients who are able get up and move/dance; those who cannot get up are repositioned at these times. The staff assist as needed, and many times, they dance along with their patients. Patients and staff both enjoy this time. It also improves the mood of the patients. This helps with patients’ functionality, helps them rest better, prevents pressure ulcers and makes our unit a happier place for everyone.
– Brooke Pryor
Statistics indicate that 10% of patients account for 70% of healthcare expenditures. These patients usually have multiple chronic conditions, require multiple medications and are at high risk for hospital readmission. To improve the health and quality of life for our patients, reduce readmissions and reduce costs, Dr. Chris Steel led the development of the Community Care Network (CCN) at White River Medical Center (WRMC). The CCN connects patients, post-discharge, to community resources outside the hospital to help them manage their health. The signature accomplishment of our CCN is a successful collaboration between WRMC and Lyon College to train pre-professional students at Lyon as Health Coaches. Health Coaches assist patients in understanding their health status, discuss symptoms and problems to report to their providers, ensure patients understand and take medication properly, and connect patients with outpatient care and community resources. A patient is typically admitted into the Health Coach Program post-discharge through their primary care provider and spends anywhere from 3 to 6 months in the program. The Health Coach will visit with their patient, in their home, a minimum of one day per week and call them at least once per week. After completing the program, some patients continue to request the Health Coaching service if they feel they need continued support. We have found that by providing post-hospitalization support with CCN Health Coaches, unintended hospital readmissions have declined, hospital expenses have been reduced and patient satisfaction has improved.
– Jerrika Davis
*The Pack Shack originated in northwest Arkansas and arranges “food packing parties” to help address the issue of food insecurity across the state.