In Full Swing: Providing Care between Hospital and Home

A lifelong Springfield resident, 64-year-old Jeff Krushall has had reason to pass through the city of Taylorville “maybe a couple of times, but that was a long time ago,” he said.

When his care team at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield recommended he be admitted to the swing bed program at Taylorville Memorial Hospital, Krushall was reluctant to receive care at a hospital and in a city unfamiliar to him.

“When it was time for me to leave MMC, I knew I would have to have rehab,” said Krushall, who was a patient at MMC for more than a week after he fell at home. At the time of his fall, Krushall was suffering a serious bladder infection associated with a long-term catheter and made worse by underlying health conditions. “I was so weak [by the end of treatment], I needed help to get out of bed and I could hardly stand on my own,” said Krushall.

Additional skilled care may be required before a patient can safely return to their home environment following the recovery from an illness, stroke, injury or surgery. A swing bed program provides a safe transition from the hospital to the home.

Despite his initial reluctance, Krushall agreed to be transported from MMC to TMH because the swing bed program at TMH caters to patients with special needs. Krushall weighs more than 500 pounds and required a swing bed program with the services and amenities available to care for bariatric patients.

“The nurses explained things to me and were attentive to my needs – I never had any problems with wanting or needing anything,” said Krushall. “The rehab [staff members] are excellent. They encouraged me and pushed me. It was just a really good experience even at a time when you’re at your lowest.”

The program at TMH boasts low patient-to-nurse ratios; respiratory therapy available 24/7; physical, occupational and speech therapy; caregiver training and education; and on-site hospital resources including radiology, lab services and pharmacy so patients do not have to leave the facility for testing.

Support services available through the swing bed program include complex wound care, blood administration, management of central lines and feeding tube management.

All of the therapies and services provided through the swing bed program at TMH are delivered within a brand-new facility that includes some unique amenities and single patient rooms.

“Our new facility has an inpatient therapy gym within the unit, and our patients have been very pleased with the single-room design,” said Treena Brown, RN, BSN, manager of case management, social services discharge planning and swing bed referral.

Each patient in the swing bed program at TMH receives an individualized care plan delivered by clinical staff members who routinely go above and beyond the standard duties of their profession to provide an exceptional patient experience. The staff members at TMH understand that it’s often small comforts – details – that make a big difference in a patient’s experience.

“I expressed to one of my nurses that I wished they had Dial soap because that’s the soap I like to use at home,” said Krushall. “The next day, she brought me a brand-new bar of Dial soap! I just thought that was so nice, that she would do that for me.”

Krushall’s great experience at TMH is not unusual.

“Our staff members are excellent at delivering that small-community, personal care,” said Brown. “They take the opportunity to have affable conversations with our patients. They get to know their preferences, which allows them to meet their needs in a patient-centered manner.”