Nursing Neighborhood in Hospital Like Our Own neighborhood Where We Live

Posted 2 April 2015 12:50 PM by TCAuthor3

By Dorothy Erdmann, CEO, Shawano Medical Center

Today’s hospital patient population in Shawano is, on average, sicker and more elderly than in past decades. These two factors, combined with the stress of being in an unfamiliar environment and changes in medications, can cause many of our patients to feel restless and confused. When a person tries to get out of bed on his or her own, the risk of falls and injury is quite high.

As we designed the floor plan for ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano, we made it priority to consider the people we now serve, and how our patient population is expected to shift in the future. One of our goals was to personalize the level of care so that patients at high risk for becoming agitated or falling have more supervision and help. Here are several steps we’ve taken achieve this patient safety goal:

  • At the new TCMC-Shawano, each patient care unit will be served by four small nursing hubs, or nursing neighborhoods, where nurses are stationed just steps away from a small number of patient rooms. This means nurses can respond more quickly to calls, and they get to know the individuals in their “neighborhoods” better.
  • We will continue to implement our no- pass system, which requires all staff to stop at a patient’s room whenever he or she sees a call light, even if the patient is not assigned to his or her care. The no-pass program means that patients get the quickest personal response possible, even if the first person to respond needs to call for help to complete the patient’s request.
  • The TCMC-Shawano patient calls will be received on individual nurses’ wireless phones, not simply at the nurse’s station or as a light outside a patient’s door. For patients at high risk, specialized alarms integrated into the hospital bed will alert staff if that person is trying to get out of bed. All of the new patient beds will be equipped of these differentiated alarms, to be set only as needed.
  • Very high risk patients may benefit from a sitter, or a caregiver who stays with the patient in his or her room.  We’ve noticed that this program is especially reassuring to family members who may already be exhausted from their caregiving duties at home. They are reassured by the level of care we can give to their loved ones, and they, too, can get some well-deserved rest.

The nursing neighborhood design of our new hospital reminds me of the way our own families and neighborhoods work. When we are close to people, we know their routines, preferences and needs. A newspaper left on her stoop too long might mean we should check on the elderly neighbor next door. Every parent knows when his or her child suddenly looks “not quite right” with the onset of illness. Some people want to hold a hand during difficult times, while others prefer to rest quietly alone. As our nurses continue to provide expert and compassionate care in our hospital, we are happy to provide them, and our patients, with a new layout to better know and care for our neighbors and families.