CareOne at Livingston and Saint Barnabas Medical Center Partner in COPD Program to Advance the Continuum of Care
LIVINGSTON, NJ — April 24, 2014 — CareOne, a premier network of senior care centers throughout New Jersey, has been working for more than six months to implement a seamless, continuum-of-care program for COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). In partnership with Saint Barnabas Medical Center, CareOne at Livingston has adopted an advanced therapeutic and educational protocol for COPD patients who are transitioning from the hospital setting. “We pick up where the hospital left off,” says Steven Salvanto, Administrator of CareOne at Livingston, “The COPD education becomes more real to patients because they are one step closer to going home, and they want to actualize everything they’ve learned to be successful when they get home.”
Essential Disease Management Helps Patients Take Control
As the third largest cause of death in America, COPD has become a major focus for healthcare in this country. CareOne and Saint Barnabas have taken the initiative to provide a completely integrated program to help patients better manage the condition. “Many patients with COPD jump to conclusions, and what they fail to realize is that COPD is a disease that can be controlled — with the right tools in place, you can have very good quality of life and not let the disease control you, but you, in fact, can control it,” says Maria Dimi, Administrative Director of Respiratory & Neurodiagnostics Services at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, “I applaud CareOne for coming to the table to partner with us to make this COPD program as successful as it can possibly be.”
By teaching patients how to monitor their triggers and having them understand the complete process for compliance of care, CareOne is providing an avenue for those who require more nursing skills to prepare for a home discharge. Roya Agahi, Director of Clinical Program Development at CareOne, states, “Our skills have been significantly enhanced through this program to identify the needs of our COPD patients and to provide an individualized brand of COPD care.”
The Goal: Preventing Hospital Readmissions
Due to the over abundance of readmissions to the hospital for COPD patients, the focus on the condition has become more heightened. As an integral part of the program, the respiratory therapists who work with COPD patients at the hospital follow those patients to continue their therapy in CareOne at Livingston. “It’s very encouraging for patients to get feedback from the same respiratory therapists who get to see the entire progression, so they can help encourage patients by pointing out their successes,” says Mr. Salvanto. “Over the last six months, we have really defined and refined the program, and now we’re seeing results of increased quality of life and decreased returns to the hospital for the residents we serve.”
Addressing the Psycho-Social Aspects of COPD
“Patients who have COPD often feel as though they’ve lost control of everything, so they try to be controlling through other means – it takes a team approach to understand the psycho-social component that goes with COPD,” says Ms. Dimi. “The respiratory therapists who follow patients both at the Medical Center and at CareOne have undergone a training program in COPD certification. The COPD educators are well-versed in pulmonary rehabilitation as well as the psycho-social characteristics.”
There is now greater awareness of the psychological component among the entire staff at CareOne at Livingston. “As a part of implementation of the program, we asked our psychologists to educate our staff in helping us all to understand how depression is related to chronic disease and COPD in particular,” reports Ms. Agahi. “Our psychologists, psychiatrists, and social worker help make up our multidisciplinary team to identify depression and address the psycho-social well being of our patients as part of the plan of care,” she continued.
Dedicated COPD Specialization for Better Outcomes
“The investment that CareOne at Livingston is making in the COPD program includes dedicated, expert personnel and exclusive equipment in order to provide all of the components needed for success,” according to Daniel E. Straus, Chief Executive Officer of CareOne. “One of the key elements is that we have a champion pulmonologist who oversees the program and enables proper guidance and consultation to be accessible to patients as needed,” adds Ms. Agahi. “Additionally the facility has purchased various types of specialized equipment for this program, specifically dedicated to addressing the care of the COPD patient.”
Both CareOne and Saint Barnabas Medical Center staff periodically meet as a group to continue to advance the progress of the COPD program. “We’re constantly looking at the process to make it better, and that is huge because we critique ourselves continually to see how we can improve,” states Ms. Dimi. “ I think that’s crucial because we don’t have a cookie cutter approach, and that’s what makes this COPD program unique, more than anything else,” she continued.
Those involved in the program feel that there is going to be an even bigger focus on COPD, especially with the changes in healthcare. “We know that as word gets out and physicians see their patients are benefiting, they will no longer have to send them directly home from the hospital and hope for the best. There is an excellent alternative now in CareOne, and I think it’s probably going to become the trend so that families don’t feel overwhelmed and patients feel like they still have a safety net,” Ms. Dimi concluded. With the tools to prepare patients for better outcomes, CareOne and Saint Barnabas Medical Center are enthusiastic about the ability to make a difference in the lives of COPD patients now and in the years ahead.