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ETMC Quitman swing bed program allows patients to recover close to home

Patients in need of ongoing monitoring or rehabilitative care now can receive treatment close to home through the ETMC Quitman swing bed program.

"Our program is designed to help patients 'swing' or transition back to the community at the same level of independence and function they had prior to entering the hospital," said Sue Casburn, BSN, RN, swing bed coordinator at ETMC Quitman.

To qualify for a swing bed stay, a patient must have completed a three-day stay in a hospital as an acute care patient within a 30-day period prior to entering the program and be referred by their physician.  Medicare and many insurance plans cover the cost of swing bed care. Hospital staff work with patients to determine if care is covered by their individual insurance plan.

Patients who can benefit from swing-bed services include those recovering from major surgery, such as joint replacement and vascular or abdominal procedures, or recovering from a major accident or stroke.

"Many of our patients have received their acute care at ETMC Quitman," said Casburn. "For those patients, the program allows them to remain in this hospital, in the same room, with the same physician(s), nurses and hospital staff while continuing to heal and gain the strength needed to return home. However, we also welcome patients who have received acute care at other hospitals, but want to return or stay close to home to receive the extended care they may need."

The focus of the swing bed program is short-term rehabilitative services and/or less intensive medical care, such as pain management, wound care, nutrition therapy, IV antibiotic therapy, physical and/or respiratory therapy and palliative care, which is focused on relieving the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness.

Since patient needs vary, treatment plans are designed for each individual, said Casburn. However, the average length of stay for a swing bed patient is one to two weeks, though some may stay longer.

Once a patient has regained strength and function, they will be discharged from the swing bed program. "At that point, our case manager and/or discharge staff assists patients in making post-hospital living arrangements, such as lining up home health care or outpatient therapy services, if needed," said Casburn.

"The swing bed program is a win-win for ETMC Quitman and our patients," said Warren Robicheaux, hospital administrator. "Our patients benefit by receiving needed care and the support of family and friends that comes from being close to home. The hospital benefits by fulfilling the ETMC mission of providing as many services as possible in the local community."