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Patients need to ASK for Skilled Care – Veterans Memorial Hospital
40 First St SE, Waukon, Iowa 52172

Patients need to ASK for Skilled Care

Veterans Memorial Hospital has many patients that utilize the skilled care or swing bed option of care following a surgery, illness or accident.  This level of care, following a three day or more acute stay in the hospital, allows the patient to have medications given, pain controlled and most importantly, the patient qualifies for more rehabilitation than if they are discharged directly to their home.  Patients who have surgery or hospitalization at Veterans Memorial Hospital or any other health care facility may qualify to return to VMH for the advantages of skilled care.  But in many cases, patients need to learn to ask their provider to be considered for skilled care.

Skilled care is a very beneficial option for patients to remain in the hospital following an accident, injury or surgery for faster recovery, but in many cases patients need to ask for this skilled care option.  Karen Milton of Lansing knew to ask her providers to send her to Veterans Memorial Hospital for skilled care following her surgeries.  Pictured with Karen are her therapists Melissa Clarke, Occupational Therapist at left, and Amy Robinson, Physical Therapist at right. 

Karen Milton of Lansing was one of those patients who knew to ask for Skilled Care at Veterans Memorial Hospital.  Following her first knee replacement in LaCrosse, she went straight home. But with her second knee, thanks to her husband, she learned to ask for skilled care and states it was well worth it.

“My husband had his knee replaced in LaCrosse and followed with Skilled Care at VMH and he did so well,” states Karen.  “When he went for his post surgery appointment, he told his doctor to not be afraid to send his patients down to Waukon because they really do a good job.”

Karen informed her doctor in LaCrosse that she wanted to come to VMH for swing bed care following her surgery to be more independent and more ready to be at home. 

“I would recommend that to anyone. They take excellent care of you here.   I just stayed a week and it felt very ready to go home.  I did so much better than the first time without swing bed.  Having every day therapy is such a benefit. They are sort of like family when they are working with you.  It makes you want to work with them more that way.  They are proud of you when you make progress.”

 “I then came in three times a week as an outpatient for about a month,” adds Karen.  “Patients do need to realize as an outpatient that they have to go home and do their homework, too. The therapists told me once they could tell that I had done my homework, so you have to keep up the work every day.”

Karen then needed heart surgery to replace three vessels in her aorta.  This surgery was performed in Eu Claire, WI, and again, Karen requested swing bed. 

“Before I even had my surgery I asked if he would make sure I could come back to Waukon on swing bed.  This time I stayed here for almost two weeks and again had physical therapy and occupational therapy. Then one week after returning home, I began coming to Waukon for cardiac rehab.” 

“The physical therapists had me walking around the loop and occupational therapy helped me learn how to dress myself with the help of rubber bands and sticks to help with socks and getting dressed,” explains Karen.  “The food was really wonderful too.  There was only one thing I didn’t care for and they never sent it again so they were very accommodating.”

In addition to skilled care, Karen also benefitted from Cardiac Rehabilitation at Veterans Memorial Hospital following heart surgery. She is pictured seated on the NuStep machine with cardiac rehab nurse Dietsy Weymiller, RN, in the cardiac rehab unit.

“I knew so many of the nurses taking care of me, and they were all so friendly.  I completed all 36 sessions of Cardiac Rehab with Amy and Dietsy and they were both so good.  When I started, I could barely to 5 minutes on the Nu Step machine, and just six weeks later I could easily ride over a half hour.  It would have been very tough to have to think of driving to La Crosse for all those cardiac rehab sessions.   This is the place to come when you need it!”

For more information on the skilled care/swing bed level of care at Veterans Memorial Hospital, please call Becky Welper, RN, Discharge Planner at 568-3411. She can help make the arrangements for patients in a larger facility to be transferred back to Veterans Memorial Hospital, closer to home for skilled care.