When the hospital setting is too intense or acute, but going home is not an option, people turn to the skilled nursing facility at Ministry Door County Medical Center/Ministry Health Care (MDCMC).
The skilled nursing facility (SNF) is actually located within the walls of the hospital. Here, 30 beds are available to people needing short-term and long-term rehabilitation after surgery, stroke, a heart problem or another illness or injury that can't be handled safety at home.
But this is not like other hospital departments. That's because people are residents, not patients. They eat together in a great room (or they can choose to eat in their rooms), and they wear jeans and shirts—not pajamas and patient gowns.
Residents have an opportunity to go on outings, ranging from shopping excursions to bus trips to see fall leaves on the Door Peninsula. Back on the SNF, they can check out a big monthly calendar in the hallway, where each day's activities are clearly marked – live music, Bingo, cooking, movies and much more.
Home away from home
Most important, this is a place many call home. They are chronically ill and staying here for the long-term. Their family may visit any time of the day or night, and holidays and birthdays are celebrated just as they would be before.
There are 22 beds available to long-term residents, and currently they are all filled. A waiting list is maintained by MDCMC staff. Eight beds are available to people who stay a short time--perhaps two days to two months.
Whether they are at MDCMC for a short time or long stay, the residents are cared for by professional staff with a personal touch. The 30 staff members include registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants. At lease one RN is on duty at all times. Dr. George Roenning is the medical director, and many of the residents enjoy being in close proximity to their MDCMC primary care doctor at North Shore Medical Clinic, as well.
The staff takes the time to get to know the residents and their family members.
They also practice "restorative nursing care" which helps people maintain their skills or move forward, not backward. For example, caregivers chart a person's progress after a stroke to ensure he/she is regaining strength.
The staff involves residents in their care and helps them reach the highest possible goals. A team of caregivers—nurses, therapists, dietitian and others--meets quarterly with long-term residents and their family members. They share input on the resident's care plan and counsel the resident on decisions about next steps during for their stay.
Paying for SNF care
The SNF accepts private pay, most insurance plans as well as Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare covers a person in need of skilled nursing care (offered by a RN) for 20 days. After that time, Medicare will co-pay for an additional 80 days with a maximum benefit not exceeding 100 days during a "spell of illness".
If people leave the SNF and come back after 60 days, Medicare starts a new plan for coverage. MDCMC works with the Medicare program on the residents' behalf, and are available to answer any questions from residents or their family members.
Plans for improving
The staff anticipates making enhancements to the SNF over time—separate areas for dining and activities and perhaps more private rooms (now, there are three).
Their goal will always be helping short-term residents go home and making long-term residents as comfortable as possible in an atmosphere of dignity, respect and fun.
Case Management and Discharge Planning
Case Management includes Social Workers and Registered Nurses to assist patients in continuing care.
Case Managers work closely with emergency room, med/surg, obstetrics, clergy, outpatient areas, and intensive care units to provide psychosocial, emotional, discharge planning, and financial assistance. Other responsibilities include patient rights awareness, assistance with protective services, senior programs, and on-going education to community, patients, and staff on advanced directives.
Social Services is actively involved in a number of hospital and community task forces/programs such as Community Options, Child Health Team, Ethics Committee, Senior Programs, Community AODA Council, Hospital/Nursing Home Task Force, End of Life Coalition and more.
323 South 18th Avenue
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
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