The expansion was approved by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Bureau of Hospital Standards and effective on Jan. 1, 2014.
The request to expand the unit was made because of high demand for that level of care. The Skilled Nursing Unit serves patients who have spent at least three days in the hospital receiving acute care and need daily therapy, such as physical, occupational or speech therapy, or medications administered intravenously. The average length of stay on the Skilled Nursing Unit is eight to ten days.
“We typically stay over 85 percent occupied,” said Skilled Nursing Unit Director Denise Hoffmann. “We see a lot of patients who have had hip fractures or joint replacement surgery or have become frail because they’ve been hospitalized with pneumonia.
“With the emphasis on keeping patients at home for healing and recovery, it takes a patient being sicker to be admitted to the hospital anymore. So the patients who are in the hospital have more serious conditions or complications, and their needs are a little higher. Skilled Nursing is that step between the hospital and going home.”
Most patients in the Skilled Nursing Unit wear their own clothes, rather than hospital gowns, and typically have their meals in a group setting.
“Our focus is on improving patients functioning – whether that be their ability to walk, to regain their speech or be able to dress themselves – so that they can go back to their home setting,” Hoffmann said.
Three of the five new rooms have already opened, and the remaining two are expected to be open in two to three weeks. Four licensed practical nurses working elsewhere in the hospital are being reassigned to work as needed in the Skilled Unit.
In the photo: Nursing Director Denise Hoffman in one of five new rooms in the Skilled Nursing Unit at Bothwell Regional Health Center.