As technology changes and medicine continues to advance, patients
are offered more care options that make their lives a little bit easier.
Novant Health is providing more choices with expanded
services, including a program that allows some patients to spend fewer nights
in the hospital and return home sooner.
One strategy, called “transitional care,” gives patients who
are home from the hospital easy access to the Novant Health team in the event
that they need care. Transitional care is used often for conditions like chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure, as well as for bariatric
patients who need fluids after surgery, said Julie Schaefer, emergency room
nurse manager at Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center emergency department.
Another recent trend, which is related, is increased access
to outpatient “infusion services.” Here’s what you need to know.
services fits in
Infusion services, which typically offer intravenous
treatments, vary across Novant Health hospitals. For instance, patients at
Kernersville Medical Center can receive blood transfusions, IV fluids,
port/catheter management, and infusion and injections for conditions like Crohn’s
disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and asthma. The treatments
are provided in a new room with 10 infusion chairs. Cancer-related infusion
services in Kernersville are offered on the hospital’s campus at Novant Health
Oncology Specialists - Kernersville. All Novant Health markets offer infusion services.
“Transitional care and infusion services weave together in
that we have a lot of patients who are admitted with an infection like cellulitis,
which typically requires IV antibiotics of a certain length of time,” Schaefer
said. “Previously, those patients were being admitted to the hospital. But what
we offer in the infusion center is they never have to be admitted or they can
be discharged early.”
Where this kind of care
Schaefer said she expects the need for such services will
“The older our population gets the more chronic illnesses we
tend to experience,” Schaefer said. “And a lot of the medications for chronic
illnesses are incredibly expensive, and they can’t be given at a doctor’s
office because they require a specific amount of monitoring. So patients can
come into the hospital as outpatients, get their infusions and go home.”
A similar emphasis on patient convenience and potentially lowering
costs is taking place across the system, including both large hospitals and at
other similar smaller community hospitals like Novant Health Clemmons Medical
Center, which recently opened a transitional care and infusion services area built
from the ground up.
This type of care provides a better experience for patients,
said Teresa Carter, emergency room nurse manager at Clemmons Medical Center,
who was a member of the design team. “Our patients may spend five, six, eight
hours in these chairs, so we want them comfortable,” Carter said.
The transitional care area also has lots of natural light
and it overlooks a healing garden, where patients can walk while receiving
infusions via portable machines. Food can also be brought in from the café.
“Most of the time with
infusion services you see the need and you find the space in your facility where
you can start up the service,” Carter said. “But for Clemmons, we focused on
what the patient needed since we could build it, and that’s what we did. It
means having the services closer to home.”
Clemmons Medical Center also offers all infusion services
on-site in addition to cancer-related ones.
For details about infusion services available at a Novant
Health hospital near you, visit https://www.novanthealth.org/home/services/infusion-services.aspx.
Photo: Teresa Carter, emergency room nurse manager at Clemmons Medical Center.