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B6 South opens Oct. 3 as swing bed unit for WVH

25 Sep 2022

Addressing the Length of Stay challenge with old space

By: Brandon Schmidgall, chief administrative officer, West Valley Hospital

With the increasing length of stay (LOS) reality most hospitals are facing lately, Salem Health has started several strategies to tackle this challenge while ensuring a safe and timely discharge. Lack of skilled nursing and long-term care facilities adds to the problem – so West Valley Hospital will expand its bed capacity as one of these strategies.

This will take time to build. But we need solutions now, so here’s the plan starting Oct. 3:   

  • WVH is licensed to operate all six of their beds as either for acute or skilled care. After moving into the new A-East wing, we have beds available in 6 South in Building B. The Oregon Health Authority recently allowed us to extend our WVH license to Salem Hospital – so patients eligible for a SNF discharge but with no place to go can now go there.
  • On Oct. 3 we will re-open 6 South as a WVH unit. It will be run by a Nurse Manager in collaboration with the Rehab Manager from WVH and staffed with a combination of current staff, contract nurses and therapists as well as support from Salem Health float pool.
  • When the bed expansion is complete at WVH next summer or the OHA waiver expires, the unit will move back to West Valley.  

What does that mean for Salem Health? 
We will see many of our discharged patients temporarily cared for on 6 South in Salem. We will see staff from West Valley Hospital (med-surg. RNs, techs, care managers, PT, OT, SLT, and other leadership) go to Salem to staff and run this unit with their expertise in the swing bed program. 

This gives us an opportunity to learn to run a larger unit of this size, so that when we open additional beds at West Valley next summer (16 beds and eventually 25) we will be ready to run! 

Always growing, always changing, and still being the awesome team we are — thanks for your patience as we dive into this solution.

If you have any questions, please contact Brandon Schmidgall, WVH chief administrative officer.