By Gemma Long
Along-term acute care (LTAC) facility is a specialty-care hospital designed for patients with serious medical problems that require intense, special treatment for an extended period of time, usually averaging 25 to 30 days. LTAC services focus on improving the lives and medical conditions of patients who need continued acute care for their recovery, and who are not yet ready to be transferred to a skilled nursing facility, rehabilitation facility, or home.
Vibra Hospital of Springfield treats four main categories of patients: those in need of respiratory care, individuals requiring complex wound care, patients receiving long-term antibiotic therapy, and complex medical patients. Chief Operating Officer, Mark Dabbs, said he believed it was important people understood the distinction between long-term acute care and nursing home care. “Many people go their whole life not knowing what we do, until there’s a point at which they or a loved one needs us. It is important that people are aware of the options so that when they do need us, they are informed.”
The full range of staff at Vibra Hospital of Springfield includes radiology technologists, a registered dietician, an infection preventionist, case managers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, respiratory therapists, wound doctors, and nurses. Medical staff is in-house 24 hours a day.
Patients being cared for at Vibra Hospital of Springfield ordinarily have several active diagnoses and comorbidities that cannot be treated effectively at a lower level of care. Vibra Hospital of Springfield accepts a variety of health plans, including Medicare and Medicaid managed plans, and accepts referrals from short-term acute hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, physicians, and home health agencies.
Vibra Hospital of Springfield takes a holistic approach to the care and medical needs of each patient by playing a role before admission, during, and after discharge. Shane Foster, Director of Quality, said, “Clinical Liaisons meet with patients and the family prior to admission. Our patients come to us with very complex medical issues so during their stay, they are assigned a personal ambassador from the leadership team who checks on him or her throughout their hospitalization to make sure everything is progressing satisfactorily,” she said.
The Case Management Director, Larry Deal, added to that by saying, “Every week the staff come together to discuss each patient individually to identify any barriers that are preventing them from reaching their goals. Once the team has met to discuss the patient’s progress, the clinical staff meets with the patient to provide them with feedback. After the patient has been discharged, a member of the case management team stays in touch to make sure the transition was successful.”
Hospital scores are measured using a nationally recognized tool known as the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). This standardized survey of hospital patients captures patients’ unique perspectives for the purpose of providing the public with comparable information on quality. Vibra Hospital of Springfield scores rate above the regional and national averages for nurse communication, doctor communication, responsiveness of hospital staff, pain management, communication about medications, cleanliness of hospital environment, quietness of hospital environment, and the overall rating of hospital.
Vibra Hospital of Springfield also has highly successful weaning rates. Weaning is the process of decreasing ventilator support and allowing patients to assume a greater proportion of their own breathing. Extubation is considered once the patient demonstrates the ability to breathe without the ventilator. Vibra Hospital of Springfield uses the Respironics NM3, which minimizes the duration of mechanical ventilation and optimizes the potential for successful extubation because it continuously monitors the patient’s response. The NM3 gives patients their very best chance of getting off the ventilator. “The success we have in weaning patients is directly related to the relationship our staff builds with the patient. Weaning can be a stressful experience for the patient, but our nursing team takes a lot of time to sit with the patients to make them feel like they can do this. “I think this is the core reason for our success,” said Larry Deal.
Another component that is so successful at an LTAC like Vibra is the healing rate for individuals requiring complex wound care. With a smaller patient-to-nurse ratio, patients receive individualized care and interventions can be made sooner to promote healing. For example, wound vacuum therapy raises wound care to a whole new level. This process of placing a sponge into the wound and creating a vacuum to pull good tissues to the surface and decrease the amount of dead cells and waste fluids in the wound has been a tremendous breakthrough in wound care. Wounds heal in a third of the time it would have taken in the past. What does this mean? This means that the body is working harder for a shorter time to heal the wound and the risk of infection drops, as well.
Another wonderful innovation to treat chronic wounds is AutoloGel. This system uses a patient’s own blood to extract the protein-rich plasma and combine it with a gelling agent, which is then placed directly back on the wound. This treatment stays in place for a week at a time, which keeps the patient more comfortable by having less dressing changes, but also allows the wound to be undisturbed for an increased amount of time, which allows the body to heal faster. Due to the length of stay that patients are allowed here, Vibra Hospital of Springfield is able to provide this treatment where other hospitals cannot.
Tara Chapman, Director of Wound Care, said that, “Wound care here is a team effort by the patient’s physicians and nurses, nutritionists to optimize the patient’s diet to promote healing, and therapists who all confer with each other daily. For instance, the bed surface on which a patient is placed plays a role in relieving pressure on a wound and allowing it to heal. This team watches the progress of each patient and changes the type of therapy as needed, from wound treatment to bed selection to nutritional interventions.”
For family members, it can often be very difficult when their loved ones are hospitalized and being cared for miles away, but it is important to take into account the quality of care being offered at a facility such as Vibra Hospital of Springfield, which is supported by a nationwide organization. The hospital caters to patients located within a 100-mile radius, which means they can come from as far south as St. Louis and as far north as Galesburg.
Vibra Healthcare has a management team with more than 100 years’ combined experience in the development and operation of freestanding and acute medical rehabilitation hospitals and long-term acute care (LTAC) hospitals from coast to coast. Vibra is uniquely qualified to be a leader in the field of acute rehabilitation and LTAC and hospitalization. Vibra Hospital of Springfield is a 50-bed LTAC hospital licensed by CMS and fully accredited by the Joint Commission.
Vibra Hospital of Springfield is locatedat 701 North Walnut Street, Springfield. For more information, call 217-528-1217, email email@example.com or visit vhspringfield.com.
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