The Palliative Care Summit for PeopleFirst Homecare and Hospice was held in Snowbird, Utah on September 15, 2012, following the Rocky Mountain Geriatric Conference. The leadership team in attendance represented over 1400 employees of the PeopleFirst Homecare and Hospice Division of Kindred Healthcare, Inc. Jim McDonald, Vice President of Western Region for Homecare and Hospice, and Ed Seiler, Senior Director of Hospice and Home Health Operations hosted the summit as a way to bring the western branches together and to give an overview of the BridgePoint Palliative Care program. There were commanding presentations, sharing ideas and best practices on the implementation and maintenance of a successful palliative care program. You can learn more about PeopleFirst Homecare and Hospice's palliative care program here.
What is Palliative Care?
Last week was National Healthcare Foodservice Workers Week, a time set aside to honor healthcare food and nutrition professionals. Thousands of patients and residents are admitted to Kindred facilities every year, and our staff has an amazing ability to keep up with all of their dietary needs and restrictions.
The publication of the June 2012 issue of the journal Respiratory Care followed a national symposium dedicated to the “chronically critically ill patient,” the patient with ongoing costly medical interventions, risk for medical complications and death, and the need for extensive post-acute care services. One article and subsequent discussion was devoted to the topic of liberating patients on prolonged mechanical ventilation, or PMV patients, from their need for this ongoing treatment. PMV is defined, in this article, as mechanical ventilation needed for at least 21 days.
We know there are barriers to weaning patients from PMV, but it can be argued that we haven’t formally studied them enough to know how to overcome them. The barriers may include age, identifying windows of opportunity for weaning, a concurrent condition known as critical illness neuromyopathy (CINM) and cardiac issues.
Soon after Barbara Baylis came to Kindred in late 2002, she began an effort to develop consistent policies and procedures within the company’s nursing centers – more than 200 of them.
“A small group of us got together to clearly outline the care we were expected to deliver, based on evidence-based standards,” said Baylis, the Nursing Center Division’s Senior Vice President of Clinical and Residential Services. “And some people out in the field said, ‘Well, this is voluntary, right?’ And I said. ‘No. They didn’t voluntarily hire me. These are the standards we will begin striving for.’ ”
Many important questions were raised by information published in the June 2012 issue of the journal Respiratory Care. This issue followed a national symposium dedicated to the “chronically critically ill patient,” the patient with ongoing costly medical interventions, risk for medical complications and death, and the need for extensive post-acute care services.
In an effort to improve employee safety, Kindred has developed and implemented a number of safety measures over the last few years. “We started a campaign called ‘Safety Never Hurts,’ in 2011, and are continuing it in 2012,” says Greg Laird, Director of Loss Prevention, Kindred Healthcare. “Some of our earliest efforts were visual promotions like posters and banners. We also provided facilities with digital counters to record injury-free days. There are contests between facilities to see who can make it through the most days without an injury. We have one facility right now in Texas that’s close to 400 days.”
As part of the campaign, each Kindred facility was asked to assign a Worker’s Compensation Champion. “The champions are employees who were already working in the facilities,” says Laird. “Their job is to keep track of injuries and make sure the CEO or director is aware of those injuries so they can work to resolve any ongoing issues.”
National Rehab Awareness Week is Sept. 16-22, which makes this an ideal time to highlight the impact that Kindred’s RehabCare Division has on our patients. The country’s largest provider of rehab services, RehabCare offers physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language therapy to more than 2,100 facilities in 46 states. “Many of our patients are critically ill and are on ventilators or have trachs [tracheostomies],” says Vienna Lafrenz, OTR/L, CLT, Director of Clinical Operations - West Region, RehabCare. “We also treat a lot of medically complex patients who have multiple diagnoses or conditions.”
In October of 2010, Kindred Assisted Living - Avery Crossings partnered with the Newton Art Association to transform one of its hallways into an art gallery. “We have a very long hallway on the third floor of our community that has a lot of natural light,” says Rosalind Fisher, Director of Marketing, Avery Crossings. “Our residents go up and down that hallway all the time, so we thought it would be great for them to have something to look at.”
Every six to eight weeks, the Newton Art Association brings new works from featured artists. “What’s been really great for our residents is that they bring all different kinds of art,” says Fisher. “Sometimes it’s contemporary, sometimes it’s traditional landscapes. We’ve had modern art, three-dimensional art. Our residents really appreciate the variety.”
Kindred Healthcare is the local sponsor for the 2012 Kentuckiana Heart Walk, which takes place on Saturday, September 22, 2012 at WaterfrontPark in Louisville, KY. As a member of the AHA board and a former board President, I am asking you to join us in the fight against cardiovascular disease.
There are many ways to help fight cardiovascular disease. For more than eight years, Kindred has supported the American Heart Association. Now, more than ever, we need you to walk with us. By walking, we are showing our support to our patients, residents and employees impacted by heart disease and highlighting our belief that we truly can make a difference. Click here to register to be a part of the 2012 Walk. You may sign up to be a walker under any team captain you would like. As a special bonus, any walker who raises at least $30 will receive a Kindred Team Heart Walk Shirt.
William Altman, Kindred Healthcare’s Executive Vice President for Strategy Policy and Integrated Care, will participate in a panel discussing post-acute care on Thursday, September 13, from noon-1:30 p.m. EDT.
The panel, which will be webcast, is entitled “Post-Acute Development and Strategies for Acute Care Hospital Systems.”
The panel is sponsored by international law firm McDermott Will & Emery. Other panelists include McDermott Will & Emery partner Christopher J. Donovan; Robert M. Hager, Assistant Vice President, Long Term Care Services, Program Director, InovaCares for Seniors (PACE), Inova Health System; and Erik Johnson, Senior Vice President, Avalere Health.
Accountable care organizations, bundled payment models and readmission penalties, among other payment changes, require acute care hospitals and health systems to develop new post-acute care strategies. Health systems face the dilemma of building out a continuum of care or focusing on the acute core mission.
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