AVH’s Swing Bed Program: When a patient is not quite ready to go home

May 30, 2019
Imagine having just emerged from major surgery to repair damage from an accident. The procedure was a success and you already feel better. However, you still need to be closely monitored and receive specialized care before you are fully ready for discharge. The Swing Bed Program at Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) may allow you to receive skilled nursing and rehabilitative care right here close to your home, family and friends.

“Keeping patients in their home community, near their loved ones, is a big advantage of our Swing Bed Program,” said Margie Slater, RN, Director of Inpatient Services at AVH. “Our patients receive excellent quality of care. And if something goes awry and they need to be acutely readmitted to the hospital, they are already Quick read more or view full article here at AVH.”

What is the Swing Bed Program?

This program is a skilled rehabilitative level of care that is “similar to the care someone would receive in a nursing home on a skilled rehabilitation unit,” said AVH Case Manager Marcella Steward-Knable, RN. “Swing bed patients no longer require 24-hour acute care, but do require medically supervised nursing care or rehabilitative service on a continuous basis while they heal and strengthen before returning home.”

While in the program, patients may receive a range of rehabilitative services such as physical, occupational, speech, recreational and respiratory therapy based on their specific needs. In addition, patients may receive nursing care such as dressing changes, nutritional assessments, psychosocial assessments and medication evaluations.

(AVH Swing Bed Program team left to right: Lisa Pranno, PT, DPT, GCS; Rachel Sollars, RN; Marcella Steward-Knable, BSN, RN; Julie Jenkins, RN; Michael Goralka, MD; and Margie Slater, RN. Not Pictured: Michelle Miscione, Phd; Brad Holmes, MD; Marissa Meinema, MS, OTR/L, CBIS; Jamie Britt, RN and Paige Taylor, RN.)

“A key component of the Swing Bed Program is that patients need to be active in all aspects of their care and recovery to remain in the program,” Steward-Knable said. “This includes resuming daily activities such as getting up, getting dressed and participating in organized activities.”

Who is eligible?
  • While there is no age requirement, the swing bed patient must be eligible for Part A Medicare or have skilled nursing benefits through private insurance.
  • In addition, the patient must have a three-night consecutive inpatient hospital stay within the past 30 days to qualify, and they must exhibit a continued skilled need related to that reason for hospitalization.
"While the Swing Bed Program offers a lot of advantages for many patients, it may not be appropriate for everyone," said AVH Case Manager Julie Jenkins, RN. “We have to look at each patient’s situation individually and make sure we can provide the care needed for the best possible outcomes.”

A multidisciplinary team — including the physician, case managers, therapists and registered dietitians — will review each prospective swing bed patient’s history to see if the program at AVH is the best fit. “For example, AVH may not be right for patients who have certain chronic illnesses or would not do well at Aspen’s higher altitude,” Jenkins said.

How long does a patient stay in the program?

This depends on each patient’s needs and condition. While in the program, patients and families will meet regularly with their multidisciplinary care team to determine the best plan of care for their transition back home.

“Our focus is on helping patients regain their independence and return to where they were before their surgery, accident or illness,” Jenkins said. “Since we started offering this program several years ago, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from both patients and their loved ones.”

To learn more about AVH’s Swing Bed Program, please talk to your physician or call 970.544.1366.
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