Avera Medical Minute: Universal Care Part 2 - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute: Universal Care Part 2

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Dr. Tom Isaacson in the emergency department. Dr. Tom Isaacson in the emergency department.

In Part 1 of our Avera Medical Minute we showed you one aspect of the Universal Care Model used at the Avera Heart Hospital and how patients are admitted to one and only one room during their stay.  In Part 2, we bring you the perspective of one of the doctors at the cardiovascular multi-specialty hospital and why he thinks universal care holds everyone accountable for the care for patients.

The Avera Heart Hospital is the only hospital in the region that uses the "Universal Care Model". 

Avera Heart Hospital Medical Director Dr. Tom Isaacson says, "Universal care had another name and that was patient centered care Nancy. The idea behind it allows the patient to be consistently and reliably cared for by the providers. Their preferences and needs are met in a different way than what has traditionally been done in hospitals."

Some examples are the centralized nursing stations.  The nurses are very close to their patients literally and figuratively. They are nearby in proximity and the nurse to patient ratio is very small so the patients, their families and nurses become very close emotionally.  The patient also doesn't feel like they are being shuffled around from room to room. They stay put and equipment is brought in and taken out as needed. It's safer for the patient because there are less hand offs (less mistakes) and fewer germs.

Dr. Isaacson says, "It really is a different kind of environment that in a way allows us a different sense of community which is empowering to our staff and for our patients to involve their families as we have done from the day we opened. We wanted our patients and families to be involved in the informed decision making that goes on with their care. It's just a really good way to care for the person who is ill that's the patient centered concept."

The Avera Heart Hospital also doesn't restrict visiting hours. They actually encourage spouses to stay by their loved ones side as much as they want. Each room has a chair that pulls out to a bed. Administrators and staff know the healing process involves more than just medicine.

Dr. Isaacson says, "We are committed to making their care work by the way we staff it. The kind of nurses we have which are both critical care and non-critical care and they work as a team. It is really a concept of doing things as a team and how we care for that patient."

It is a team approach that Dr. Isaacson and his colleagues credit for better outcomes, lower mortality rates which makes for happier patients.

The Avera Heart Hospital of South Dakota found out it was named one of the nation's Top 100 Hospitals for cardiovascular care by the healthcare business Thomson Reuters.  It is the 4th year in a row they've received this distinction and they credit their universal care model.


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