Bill Broten, 71, Wautoma, was a patient in the swing bed program at Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital earlier this year after a knee replacement at Berlin Memorial Hospital. Broten is continuing his therapy as an outpatient with Lorna Miller, lead cardiac rehab, each week. Miller said Broten is doing well with his therapy and has been making great improvements.

Wild Rose Swing Bed program transitions many patients from hospital to home

In today’s healthcare industry, hospitals and doctors are treating patients and always keeping in mind first the needs of the patient and then the insurance and or Medicare rules and regulations. 

What does one do when they are released from the hospital three days after a knee or hip replacement, or after treated for a fall? Many patients are not able to return to their home immediately after being released from the hospital. They require additional care and therapy and often there is not a caregiver at home to provide the care they require.

At Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital, the answer is easy and has been since 1996 when it became a Critical Access Hospital. This hospital provides a swing bed program for patients that need care and therapy following a hospital stay. 

The name swing bed is a Medicare term and is a transition from hospital to home or an assisted living facility. Lorna Fifield, swing bed care coordinator at Wild Rose, said she tells patients in the program it is described as swinging from their facility back to home. 

At Wild Rose, Fifield said they have 25 beds and can use all of available beds for the program. To be eligible for swing bed, the patient must have had a three-day acute care hospital stay, have a skilled need, including occupational therapy, antibiotic therapy, and respiratory therapy. 

When physicians recom-mend patients for the swing bed program at Wild Rose, Therapy Supervisor Ben Gerloff or a member of his team completes a therapy assessment. If the patient needs occupational therapy, it is under the direction of Jennifer Mueller and her staff. 

In the cardiac therapy department Lorna Miller, lead cardiac rehab, assesses and evaluates. Once they are evaluated, the therapy begins and in order for the patient to remain in the program, they must continue to show progress and have a skilled need. Medicare allows a patient to remain in the program for 100 days. Fifield said most patients are not in the program for that long.

In 2015, Wild Rose had 133 patients in the swing bed program. One of the recent patients, Bill Broten, 71, Wautoma, entered the program on Jan. 1 after having a knee replacement at Berlin Memorial Hospital on Dec. 29. 

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