Lincoln County Health System is a multi-faceted system with a wide variety of services to meet the health care needs of the community. The Lincoln County Health System Foundation holds fundraisers to donate monies that support the mission of the various entities of the Health System.
Over the past 10 years, the foundation has raised money for items such as the accredited chest pain center, a new bus for the care centers, a new ambulance, and most recently, an awning for the entrance to the Patrick Rehab and Wellness Center.
This year, Lincoln Medical Home Health and Hospice has been chosen as the recipient of those funds from the Foundation.
“While other entities have had large projects that are easily visible, Home Health and Hospice had a wide variety of needs, not quite as visible, but no less important. The foundation is helping us purchase items that greatly benefit our patients and their families,” said Susie Compton, administrator for the agency.
“These are either things that we have used in the past, or things that we really wanted for our patients or staff, but could not budget, due to reimbursement cuts and cost-cutting measures that are just part of health care today.
“For several years, we’ve been able to furnish our hospice families with a ‘Tomi Turn’, a specially made pad that fits under the bed-bound patient and facilitates turning the patient in bed. But, these items are expensive, and as we’ve looked at ways to decrease costs, the Tomi Turn is one of the ‘extras’ that we had to consider leaving out of the budget.
“The foundation purchased 50 of these devices for us this year so that we can continue to provide them to our families,” said Compton.
The foundation also purchased over 200 booklets entitled, “Hard Choices for Caring People”.
“We love the ‘Hard Choices’ booklets and give them to families who are seeking information about end-of-life issues, like CPR and feeding tubes. These, again, are ‘extras’ that we know benefit our families and our community, but if not for outside funding, may not be something the agency can continue to provide free of charge,” said Linda Mills, social worker and bereavement coordinator.
“The booklets help us talk with patients and families about some of the hard decisions that can occur when patients and families are dealing with life-threatening illness and quality of life issues,” says Mills.
Foundation monies purchased new home health bags for the visit staff. A home health nurse, aide, therapist or social worker has to be able to take everything into the home in order to provide needed care.
“The home health bag is our ‘mobile supply closet’ and is designed so the staff can easily access needed equipment and care items, but also maintain effective infection control. We love our new bags. They’re sturdy, roomy and sharp looking,” said Amy Bates, registered nurse.
Now the foundation is purchasing two PT/INR monitors for nurses to use for home health patients who require frequent blood samples to monitor the effectiveness of their anticoagulant medication.
“We are very excited about this purchase. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for quite a while,” said Ellen Poarch, case manager. “When a patient is on Coumadin or other anticoagulant medication, the physician will order periodic lab tests to ensure that the patient’s blood is ‘thin enough’. We then have to take the specimen to a lab for processing, obtain results, then call or fax them into the physician’s office.
“Many times a patient’s veins may be very fragile and it can be difficult and painful to get a blood specimen using a needle and collection device. A PT/INR monitor allows us to obtain the blood with a finger stick, much like a glucose test. We are able to run the test at the bedside and get immediate results that can be called to the physician or Coumadin Clinic.
“This accomplishes two things: it allows us to have a way to easily obtain blood samples from some of our patients who are ‘harder sticks’. It also allows us to obtain results immediately, communicate with the physician’s office and adjust the patient’s medication, if needed, within minutes of the test.”
“We are so pleased with the purchases that we’ve been able to make so far,” said Compton. “We’ve completed training on the monitors and will soon be able to put them to good use. When I went to the foundation last year and asked to be considered as the recipient for this year’s fundraising efforts, I had a ‘wish list’ of item that I knew would be fantastic for our patients and staff. It’s so wonderful that we are able to purchase these things. We greatly appreciate the generosity of the foundation and those who support its fundraising efforts.”