In today’s healthcare industry, hospitals and doctors are treating patients and always keeping in mind first the needs of the patient and then the insurance and or Medicare rules and regulations. What does one do when they are released from the hospital three days after a knee or hip replacement, or after treated for a fall? Many patients are not able to return to their home immediately after being released from the hospital. They require additional care and therapy and often there is not a caregiver at home to provide the care they require.
At Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital, the answer is easy and has been since 1996 when it became a Critical Access Hospital. This hospital provides a swing bed program for patients that need care and therapy following a hospital stay. The name swing bed is a Medicare term and is a transition from hospital to home or an assisted living facility. Lorna Fifield, swing bed care coordinator at Wild Rose, said she tells patients in the program it is described as swinging from their facility back to home.
At Wild Rose, Fifield said they have 25 beds and can use all of available beds for the program. To be eligible for swing bed, the patient must have had a three-day acute care hospital stay, have a skilled need such as occupational therapy, antibiotic therapy, respiratory therapy, etc.
When patients are recommended by their physician for the swing bed program at Wild Rose, a therapy assessment is completed by Ben Gerloff, therapy supervisor or one of his team. If they need occupational therapy, it is under the direction of Jennifer Mueller and her staff. In the cardiac therapy department Lorna Miller, lead cardiac rehab, assesses and evaluates. Once they are evaluated, the therapy begins and in order for the patient to remain in the program, they must continue to show progress and have a skilled need. Medicare allows a patient to remain in the program for 100 days. Fifield said most patients are not in the program for that long.
Broten’s story alone is amazing as he and his wife moved to Wautoma in 2005 from the Milwaukee area where he served as a healthcare administrator for a 300-bed hospital. Moving to Wautoma and finding out that Wild Rose had about 20 beds, he wondered how the care would be at such a small hospital. It didn’t take Bill long to explore the care at Wild Rose; while they were moving into their Wautoma home his wife , Karen, had a seizure and he called 911 and she was transported to the Wild Rose hospital. He found out that very day the hospital provides quality care with a caring staff that exceeded all expectations. In 2010 he was also a patient in ER and Dr. Mike Staudinger was on call. Bill was so impressed by his bedside manner and care that Dr. Staudinger became the primary care physician for him and his wife. After being a patient at the hospital, Bill soon came to know all his nurses and the best thing for Bill is that they all knew him. “From where I came from in our 300-bed hospital, 25 percent of our nurses were pool nurses and never got to know their patients,” he said.
Adding to the care he and his wife have had at Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital, he said, “I would never hesitate to come here, the fact that I know everyone from an RN to and LPN to the person delivering my food tray is part of getting well, it is building relationships like a family,” Bill said. ThedaCare in New London, Waupaca, and Shawano also offer the swing bed program, a great transition from hospital to home when patients need skilled nursing care. For people facing challenges in transitional healthcare, this program is a stepping stone to being independent and returning home.
For more than 100 years, ThedaCare™ has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,800 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 34 clinics in 14 counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service. ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton opened in February. For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.