Since the pandemic started in early 2020, the SCL Health Medical Group Transitional Care team has championed the characteristics of resilience and flexibility in how they care for the most vulnerable patients within our community. The team has adapted to protocols that often change weekly, and in some cases, daily. Their efforts always err on the side of caution to ensure the safety of those they serve, their fellow caregivers, and themselves, so they have truly come together as a team to face the challenges that the pandemic has brought to frontline caregivers and to help stop the spread.
The transitional care team consists of physicians and advanced practice professionals that focus on the aging-in-place population to provide acute and chronic care. This focus is specifically for long-term residents of nursing homes, skilled nursing for acute stays within nursing facilities for oversight of medical management and rehabilitation services, and for assisted and independent living facility patients. Now, during a pandemic, they have even had to adjust to taking care of patients with the novel coronavirus.
“Over the past year, we have cared for many patients with COVID-19,” said Jodi Peterson, PA. “We have made extra strides to accommodate and care for these patients, keep them comfortable, and keep them within their facilities.”
Each caregiver takes special precautions before entering facilities to protect the health of themselves and their patients. They get their temperatures taken daily, fill out questionnaires to make sure they aren’t exhibiting any symptoms or haven’t been around anyone with COVID-19, apply proper personal protective equipment (PPE), and, oftentimes, they take asymptomatic COVID-19 tests two or three times a week. Because of these special precautions, they have limited the potential transmission of the virus between caregiver and patient.
Since January 2020, the team has opened its arms to new challenges, expanding its reach from seven facilities within our community to eighteen. Some facilities are often spread thin with employees, so the addition of transitional care professionals allows the facility to provide more responsive care and expertise to sick patients.
“Sometimes we are the only ones that patients see for months at a time, due to visitor restrictions,” mentioned one member of the team. “It is truly a privilege to be able to help improve their overall quality of life.”
The pandemic may have presented challenges to the transitional care team, but there is one thing that hasn’t changed despite its hardships -- their compassionate, attentive approach to each and every patient.
“This team is incredibly passionate and dedicated to this work and to each patient,” said Wendy Ross, Manager of the Transitional Care Group. “Their determination and teamwork to provide compassionate care has made a profound impact on our community and exhibits SCL Health’s mission, vision and values.”