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WHS Swing Bed – 'A Great Way to Recover'
By Lois Thomson

Have you ever needed a little extra time to recover from surgery or wished you could have had a few more days of rehabilitation after recovering from an illness before resuming your normal daily activities? If so, Lynn Watson suggests that the Swing Bed Unit at the Washington Health System Greene facility could have been just what you needed. "It's a great alternative for people to recover if they don't want to go to a nursing home. The Swing Bed Unit is in a hospital setting, and is a combination of nursing, therapy and medical care.”

Watson, RN, BSN, MBA and Director of Continuum of Care at Washington Health System, said the unit has several advantages over the typical nursing home. All patients have a private room with a private bathroom. All additional services are available on site including emergency service if required. The team approach of nursing, therapy, physician, pharmacists and case managers coordinate the patient's care to achieve optimal patient focused outcomes.

Recreational activities are incorporated into occupational therapy, and the patients enjoy other pastimes as well, such as bingo, puzzles, crafts or watching movies.

Watson said the Swing Bed Unit has been in operation since Washington Health System acquired the Greene County hospital a few years ago. Patients can be admitted to the unit for multiple reasons: needing additional physical, occupational or speech therapy; requiring intravenous antibiotics; or wound care.

Patients are referred following discharge from a hospital, or can be directly admitted from home with prior authorization from the patient's insurance company, according to Watson. "The case manager or social worker assisting the patient with their hospital discharge planning makes a referral to the unit; the Swing Bed Unit team then reviews the information, and if the patient meets the unit's criteria, coordinates admission to the unit." The stay on the Swing Unit is covered by the patient's skilled nursing facility benefit; any deductibles and copays for the benefit would apply to the patient’s stay.

Watson said the feedback has been very positive. "Patients and families really like the care. The big advantage is that it is in a hospital environment. We can have a physician available to see the patient at any time, and we have case managers who work with families and patients for discharge planning so there is a smooth transition back home.

"It's a great place for people who need a short stay. They can come here, stay, recover, and go home."

For additional information, contact the Swing Case Managers at 724-627-2455.

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