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Archive for Tuesday, March 12, 2013

KU, LMH partner for pilot program to decrease hospital readmissions

Adult nurse practitioner Jayne Mitchell watches at right as patient Marlena Bechtel-Rysdam, from Elgin, Ore., practices using an electronic monitoring device called a Health Buddy at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Ore., in this Jan. 30 file photo. Hospitals are under new pressure from Medicare to slow a pricey revolving door — the number of people who are rehospitalized only weeks after they left for problems that could have been prevented. Lawrence Memorial Hospital has partnered with Kansas University to conduct a pilot program matching volunteers with recently discharged patients to help them in the weeks following their hospital stay.

Adult nurse practitioner Jayne Mitchell watches at right as patient Marlena Bechtel-Rysdam, from Elgin, Ore., practices using an electronic monitoring device called a Health Buddy at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Ore., in this Jan. 30 file photo. Hospitals are under new pressure from Medicare to slow a pricey revolving door — the number of people who are rehospitalized only weeks after they left for problems that could have been prevented. Lawrence Memorial Hospital has partnered with Kansas University to conduct a pilot program matching volunteers with recently discharged patients to help them in the weeks following their hospital stay.

March 12, 2013

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Being released after hospitalization doesn’t always mean the patient is back to normal health. Oftentimes patients with chronic diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or heart failure, are re-hospitalized within the same month.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital, partnered with the Kansas University School of Social Welfare Office of Aging and Long Term Care, is conducting a pilot program to see if they can decrease that number and increase the overall quality of life for patients living with chronic diseases.

“About 20 percent readmit within 30 days, and that costs Medicare billions (of dollars) a year,” Linda Gall, LMH director of care coordination, said. “We continue to strive to decrease readmissions and be sure patients have everything they need — not just physical needs but emotional needs — that keep them healthy for a successful recovery at home.”

Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Association was responsible for writing the grant for the program. It received $25,000 from the Kemper Foundation for the initial program.

“We’re trying to reach out beyond the LMH walls and make sure patients get everything they need,” Sarah Smith, LMH endowment association development specialist, said.

The Peer Support and Wellness for Older Adults Program matches volunteers with a recently discharged patient who is similar in age and interests. The volunteer will visit the patient at the patient’s home for one hour twice a week for 10 weeks. Together the volunteer and patient will work to outline goals for the patient and the volunteer will help the patient to follow a new lifestyle plan.

“Having that volunteer is just another layer to help see what will work at home for that patient,” Gall said. “It’s not so much targeting medical, technical issues but more living life; how do I live life with this chronic disease?”

When a patient is discharged from the hospital, they’re given instructions for readjusting to life at home, but Gall said that often they’re just ready to go home and don’t necessarily pay complete attention to what they need to do once they get there.

It can also be overwhelming to not have consistent support to help the patient follow their new lifestyle regimen. By providing a volunteer, the hospital is giving the patient a person to ask questions, to connect with and to provide support.

“This program is a pilot that was developed from another program to see if this does affect readmission rates, whether it does improve quality of life for clients and does it work, is it a viable program,” said Allyson Leland, LMH director of volunteer services.

The previous program conducted by the Office of Aging and Long Term Care was aimed at older adults and was adapted for this program to focus on patients with more physical, chronic conditions.

“In our previous study, people who went through the program had significant reduction in depression symptoms and increase in quality of life,” said Sarah Landry, project coordinator and doctoral student.

KU has the added role of the evaluation portion of the program by having patients and volunteers fill out questionnaires through the process, by tracking the progress of the patients and evaluating the program as a whole, but KU and LMH are working together to recruit volunteers and participants.

Volunteers must be 55 years or older and have transportation access. They will go through an interview and screening process and, if chosen, will receive training before being matched with a patient. The training for the program includes reviewing the basics of COPD and heart failure, mental health symptoms that often accompany living with a chronic disease, and basic strategies and tips for managing those conditions.

“We’ve gotten some really great people interested in being volunteers, and if others are interested in participating in a high-impact volunteer experience, that’d be fantastic,” Landry said.

The first training day for the program is scheduled for Friday and a second date is tentatively set for early April. If interested in participating in the program as a volunteer, community members should contact Leland at 505-3141 or Landry at 864-3823.

Comments

Kat Christian 1 year, 9 months ago

So if they received a grant who gets paid out of this money? Not those who do the leg work, just those who sit behind a desk. Yet volunteers do the leg work. More and more hospitals and other organizations are utilizing volunteers to do the work that paid employees use to do in the past. AND we wonder why the employment rate is on the rise. It is nice to volunteer if you can afford to do so. However, more and more folks over the age of 55 are needing paid employment because of the cost of living, lack of retirement funds. I just don't see how this will help to curb the cost of medical care. Its just another bandaid or coverup to hid or overpaid administrators.

Enlightenment 1 year, 9 months ago

Part of the ACA addresses the issue of readmission and quality care from providers. What LMH and KU Med are doing is in part due to the ACA. The program is meant to reduce the number of times patients are readmitted for the same issue. Under the ACA, hospitals will be responsible for cost of care of readmission in some cases. So they will do whatever is necessary to ensure the recovery of the patient to ensure payment for services of Medicare patients. It's a win/win. Patients get better care, hospitals work more efficiently and effectively, and Medicare saves billions from the reduction of readmission. I hope those that complained about the ACA take note of the positive impact the ACA is having.

Alceste 1 year, 9 months ago

"Lawrence Memorial Hospital, partnered with the Kansas University School of Social Welfare.....": Now there's a mistake right there.

The very same "school" was tapped to "partner" with God knows who when "mental health" reform went down in Kansas back in the early 1990's. Larned State Hospital is THE mental hospital in Kansas. The KU School of Social Welfare came out thataway exactly ZERO times, despite the fact the doors of Larned were simply opened and the "...people set free....." to lanquish in.....drum roll....that right.....Greensburg, Kansas, Kiowa County where there was no housing; no support services of any consequence; zero; nada; zilch and where the "locals" didn't "....want those nuts....." walking around Greensburg...." (shock)....refused to rent to these newly freed citizens....preferring to stuff them in nursing homes on a "wink wink" "buddy buddy" basis such that these "nursing homes" got phat and paid. A handful were allowed to reside in a "boarding home" which had tatty, nasty curtains for doors to the squalid "rooms".

The KU School of Social Welfare was touting it's "strengths perspective" at the time....but were too weak to make the drives out to Greensburg to provide the necessary "support", "consultation", "leadership", etc.....which is where the local community mental health center was located that was resposible for the section of Kansas which included Larned State Hospital.

Chides to whomever picked the KU School of Social Work. Ya done picked a loser from the gate....

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