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On Wednesday, Symphony Care Network announced over 200 patients have recovered from COVID-19 at its facilities hit hardest by the virus.
Symphony Care Network’s COVID-19 Task Force cited enhanced communication between nursing homes and hospitals as critical to helping COVID-19 patients recover on the road to recovery, as the company announced it had reached over 200 patient recoveries at its facilities hit hardest by the virus.
Symphony Care Network COVID-19 Task Force co-chair Dr. Alexander Stemer said that, because emergency departments and nursing homes are facing unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic caring for their vulnerable patient populations, emergency department personnel and nursing home caregivers must ensure open lines of communication during hospital transfers and returns to long-term care facilities so all relevant patient information is shared during both transports.
That includes setting clear information sharing protocols for:
• Flagging nursing home patients’ pre-existing conditions that may influence hospital treatments and drug protocols
• Establishing an Emergency Department process to take calls from nursing facilities to identify intake patient needs
• Identifying residual care issues that impact how patients receive ongoing care once back in their nursing facility
Symphony cited its partnership with University of Chicago Medicine at its South Shore facility as an example of how hospitals and nursing homes can collaborate to promote successful patient outcomes.
The ongoing partnership allows for a more reliable exchange of relevant patient information between the nursing home personnel and hospital staff.
As part of its effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, Symphony South Shore worked with University of Chicago Medicine to test every resident and employee.
Universal testing of all individuals in the facility allowed the team to identify and isolate COVID-19 positive patients who require intensive care, including transfers to the emergency department for more acute treatments.
Symphony has set up COVID-19 isolation units at all its facilities for patients who test positive or exhibit symptoms.
When a positive test is rendered for a patient, they are immediately isolated and follow all necessary cohorting guidance, including contact and droplet precautions.
In April, Symphony announced the formation of its COVID-19 Task Force, led by Dr. Stemer in partnership with Dr. Stacie Levine, chief of the section of geriatrics and palliative care at University of Chicago Medicine.
In addition to implementing the most effective treatments and procedures to save the lives of Symphony patients and employees, the task force is also focusing on how to increase communications with patients’ families to provide more frequent updates about their relatives in Symphony’s care.
Symphony facilities have expanded their reception hours and shifted staff to ensure more personnel are available to handle calls from patients’ family members.
In addition, the company is in the final stages of procuring a broadcast message solution tool that will issue text and email messages to families, along with video linking capabilities.
Stemer is providing regular video updates about Symphony’s infection control protocols to counteract the spread of coronavirus and sharing learnings from the task force about the advanced clinical strategies they are using to successfully treat patients.