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We’re easing the burden of delayed discharge

12 Feb 2023

Two new units and how they work

By: Kathleen Harder, MD, Salem Health Medical Group ACMO

As hospitals across the nation struggle to discharge medically stable patients to the appropriate community setting, Salem Health has creatively worked to ease the burden of delayed discharges by opening two new units: the West Valley Hospital Swing Bed program and the Extended Care Unit.

While they both care for patients who would otherwise be discharged, there are some key differences.

  • The West Valley Swing Bed Unit, currently housed on B6 South, is an extension of WVH and its Critical Access Hospital status. Patients who are appropriate to this unit are deemed medically stable, and have demonstrated skilled nursing and therapy needs.  Patients are discharged from their acute beds on Salem Health units, then admitted to WVH Swing. The current location on the Salem Health campus is open during the declared Public Health Emergency, and coincides with an ongoing expansion at WVH campus to allow for a larger patient census to meet the needs of its community. Once the PHE is over, the Swing Bed unit will transition back to the Dallas campus.
  • The Extended Care Unit also accepts patients who are medically stable, with an expected delayed discharge date. The ECU, currently on B4 S, allows patients to be cared for while awaiting discharge in a lower cost care model. Staffing is primarily with LPNs and CNAs providing bedside care. Patients on ECU are transferred from other units, and remain patients of Salem Health during their stay.

As a reminder, you must be credentialed and privileged at West Valley Hospital to provide patient care or give formal consultations for patients on the WVH swing bed unit. If you do not hold privileges at WVH, you are not to provide any level care or chart in the EMR.