Skilled Care Helps Patients Transition from Hospital to Home

March 19, 2014

Skilled care helped Jimmie Norris get

back to his passion: quilting

Quilting was the closest thing to therapy Jimmie Norris ever needed. The hum of the 78-year-old’s sewing machine has soothed his soul for more than three decades. “It just takes my mind off stuff,” said the Green Forest, Ark. native. “Eventually I was getting orders for quilts from around the country. California, Texas, Tennessee – you name it.”

The well-known craftsman was shipping his patchwork state by state when a heart attack put his hobby on hiatus. “One day, I didn’t think I was going to live. I came into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee, then sat back down and went limp in the chair. I knew something was wrong.” Mercy’s network of care took it from there, eventually bringing Norris to Springfield for a quadruple bypass.

“They worked with his doctors in Berryville very nicely, sending his blood samples and coordinating his records. It was seamless,” said his daughter, Debbie Hooten. Norris stayed in Springfield for about a month, slowly regaining strength. “But after his surgery, his blood pressure got really low and his heartbeat was irregular, so he needed more monitoring.”

“Of course, I was ready to go home and get back to normal, but I really needed some extra help getting to that point,” said Norris. “I was not going to the nursing home whatsoever, so the folks at Mercy told me I could do some rehab closer to my house, and I decided to stay at Mercy’s Berryville hospital for about a week.” Norris was provided a private room as Mercy staff helped him patch up his strength and rebuild his independence with around-the-clock skilled care. “They were extremely nice and even helped with my exercises. They’d walk me twice a day until I got to the point where I was doing the walking.”

Many others have walked the same path as Norris. Mercy’s skilled care is available for patients who have undergone joint replacements or strokes, or who have suffered various types of injuries. The 24-hour nursing services, rehabilitation therapies and education include:

  • IV medications
  • Daily injections
  • Feeding tube adjustments
  • Respiratory treatments requiring adjustments
  • Complex wound care
  • Therapy services
  • Patient and family education for new conditions, such as diabetes or colostomy care
  • Nutritional counseling

“It’s very good for someone who needs short-term rehab,” said Carolyn Bosshardt, RN-BC, skilled care coordinator at Mercy Hospital Berryville. “If you have someone who is normally at home and not out driving, it’s depressing to end up in a long-term care facility. Sometimes that can make you backslide and not progress.”

Norris was home within days; nurses and therapists made weekly trips to Norris’ home to help with follow-up therapy. “And I’m back to doing what I love. I’m quilting and not just sitting idle in the house. I’m taking care of myself.” He’s already made 20 quilts for the patients in the nursing home next door to Mercy Hospital Berryville. “And I just shipped a baby quilt out to somewhere in Arkansas.”

“We made no mistake sticking with Mercy,” said Hooten. “If you get a Mercy physician and you have everything connected – and they talk to each other – everything is connected and one hand knows what the other hand is doing. That’s what I love about it.”

“It’s a great group of people,” said Norris. “I wouldn’t trade my time with Mercy for a million bucks.”

Skilled care is offered at each regional hospital in the Mercy Springfield Communities. In addition to your physician’s referral, you might need to be in the hospital for at least three nights before being transferred to skilled care. Contact your local program coordinator for additional qualifications, as they may differ based on your insurance provider.