COVID-19 Recovery Unit Serves Patients in Midwest
Providence Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center is no stranger to serving the needs of older adults after a hospital discharge. But when the pandemic hit, the needs of older adults leaving the hospital changed in a dramatic way.
“We were seeing a huge gap in available services to patients who needed care, but who were COVID-19-positive,” says Megan Tengerstrom, Providence Life Services Vice President of Operations for Skilled Nursing Care. “If centers did accept those patients at all, they were not offering anything extra, like therapies or life enrichment programs.”
Since April, Providence has served over 300 patients in the COVID-19 Recovery Unit, with success stories of 225 people who have recovered from the coronavirus. “We regularly receive calls from out of state asking for us to accept patients. We end up answering the need and have been able to accept patients from Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana,” Megan says. “Our unit accepts people weekends, evenings, holidays—whenever they need placement. It’s just another way we fulfill our mission.”
The Providence name and the established relationships with other skilled nursing and assisted living communities has helped spread the word about the work being done in our recovery unit. They’ve partnered with area medical facilities, including Elmhurst and Edward hospitals, and been a resource for DuPage County and the greater community.
Kerrie Samuelian, MSN, RN, CNL, System Manager, Post-Acute Transitions for Edward- Elmhurst Health, has been placing hospital patients at Providence since April. “We wanted to partner with a healthcare community that had been already been working with COVID-19,” Kerrie says. “Providence is also prepared to accept patients with more complex medical needs compared to other traditional skilled nursing communities, meaning the patients are able to transfer there from the hospital sooner and get one step closer to getting home.”
In December alone, Edward-Elmhurst Health has sent a total of 23 patients for post-COVID-19 care. “These patients are being cared for,” Kerrie says. “I have confidence in that. Providence works collaboratively with physicians and staff to make sure patients are stable. Sometimes they’re just there for a couple of days to get their oxygen levels where they need to be, or because they can’t isolate at home and could potentially infect others. Some have gone for true therapy needs, and we’ve even discharged patients straight from the Emergency Department to Providence as well.”
“We’re doing something unique, and people see the difference,” Megan says. “We’re not just taking people with COVID-19 and giving them a place to wait out their quarantine. We’re able to
provide therapy and skilled nursing care when appropriate that will help improve their quality of life as they recover.”
She credits a carefully-planned approach to safety, as well as dedicated staff, to how well patients are recovering. “We’ve reached out a lot, and word has spread about our success stories,” Megan says. “Staff have stepped up during a time of the unknown, and so many have done great work.”
With continued service since April, Providence has been a resource for so many. “We’re here to serve people in the midst of the pandemic,” Megan says, “and that is living the mission of Providence Life Services. We’ve saved so many lives doing this.”