Leading the Region in Partnering with Extended Care Facilities for Bed Availability of COVID Patients

Premier Pulse     April 2021

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clear that a plan was needed to ensure our health system would not become overwhelmed by the amount of COVID patients and would not impact individual’s need for care. Elizabeth Morgan, MSW, LISW-S, care transitions program manager, wanted to take a proactive approach as it was evident the pandemic was becoming undeniable. She took on the task of implementing new procedures to ensure our hospitals and ICU beds would be available for patients who required a high-level of care. Elizabeth began reaching out to Extended Care Facilities (ECF) to help implement COVID isolation units within our partnering ECFs. This allowed for hospitalized patients still requiring isolation to transition to an isolation center in an EFC without delay. Patients presenting to our emergency rooms with COVID-19 were also able to transition to an ECF COVID isolation center for a lower level of care. Standing up these COVID-19 units in the ECFs allowed for our hospital beds to be available to care for COVID-19 patients who required a higher-level of care.

By the end of March 2020, Sycamore Glen was the first facility to accept COVID-19 transfers in our community. By mid-summer, Englewood Health and Rehab, Shiloh Springs Care Center, and Siena Woods also stood up COVID-19 isolation units and remained strong partners throughout the pandemic. At the peak of the surge, we had more than 650 isolation beds in about 25 nursing facilities in the Premier Health service area. Facilities created units from four to 80 beds based on our needs. Dayton facilities led the way, and as a result, Cincinnati saw positive outcomes and additional facilities opened isolation units further south.

With unwavering partnership, Premier Health was able to provide support to these ECFs by offering 24/7 access for questions, crisis management, support with PPE, working through staffing crisis (with support from our staffing agency broker partner), FIT testing of N95 masks, and more. In addition, Steven Burdette, MD, medical director of infection prevention, Miami Valley Hospital, and the infection control team made themselves available to address questions or problems that arose, held calls that talked through management with ECFs, and participated in a Q&A panel for all our post-acute partners.

An outcome of our partnership resulted in timely and appropriate transitions at the time of hospital discharge, well-managed care for ECF residents, and fewer inappropriate admissions to our hospitals, allowing patients to receive the right level of care, at the right time, in the right care setting. This is an example of Premier Health executing successfully on our mission to build healthier communities.

Back to the April 2021 issue of Premier Pulse

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