Key player: Sandy Kaple
Business/organization: St. Rita’s Medical Center
Key role: Oversees care managers and case workers
Key quote: “It’s really a continuum of care here that we stress from the time anyone enters our doors.”
LIMA — When you, or someone you love, is sick enough to enter the hospital, what you need is good medical help and a friendly hand to help steer you through the experience. At St. Rita’s Medical Center, that help comes in the form of advocates who work as liaisons between the patient, their family, the hospital, and their doctors.
“It’s really a continuum of care here that we stress from the time anyone enters our doors,” said Sandy Kaple, who oversees the social workers, care managers and utilization review nurses who work together to handle that task.
“Discharge starts at the point of admission. We’re always determining the level of care a person needs. We’re always looking ahead to determine what the next level of care will be, and how to move them through those levels,” Kaple said.
Anytime someone stops at the hospital for possible admittance, the process begins. “We determine whether that person will be admitted — you’re acutely sick or you’re not here,” Kaple said.
After that, it’s a whirlwind of coordination, making certain that test orders are made, physicians are aided, nurses are updated, and patients are kept in the loop of what’s going on in their care.
“We have nurses and social workers in this team effort, with the entire point being to help the process and ensure every person gets the best care possible,” Kaple said.
Often times that means gathering a variety of caregivers assigned each patient from the medical center, and bringing them face-to-face with the patient and their family to discuss care.
“We really push that the caregivers go in and see the patient and listen to the families and everyone be brought together,” Kaple said.
“Our staff is made up of a very caring group of people. They go in and talk with the patients and their families, they can cry with them or laugh with them. Sometimes it’s very hard, but we tell them the options available to them and answer any questions we can,” Kaple said.
The staff is always busy as the 40 workers under Kaple’s guidance see, on average, 30 to 50 patients each. And they work with those patients from admittance until discharge, whether that means to a different level of care, or to the home.
Admittedly a challenging time for the patients, Kaple said the Medical Center staff understands that this is a challenging time for patients. “It’s a time many people struggle, and we want to help them move to their next level of care,” Kaple said.