KINGFISHER, Okla. – After Toni Pickle’s knee replacement surgery four years ago and hip replacement last year in Oklahoma City, the Kingfisher resident opted to recover close to home in the skilled care unit at Mercy Hospital Kingfisher.
“Depending on the care and the services needed, I don’t think you can go any place where people would be more concerned about your care and be willing to help you regain your health,” Pickle said about her recovery experience at Mercy Hospital Kingfisher.
For Pickle, the skilled care services allowed her to leave the hospital in Oklahoma City and receive the medical care she needed to heal before returning home. She stayed in the swing bed program at Mercy Hospital Kingfisher for about three or four days after each of the surgeries, primarily working on physical therapy to regain strength and improve range of motion.
Choosing Mercy’s skilled care program in Kingfisher was an easy choice for Pickle, especially since she could have family members, friends and her pastor stop by to see her more regularly.
“When you don’t have friends or family who can stop by, you have more time for your mind to wander and you may think more about your condition and what you can and can’t do; it’s more of a negative outlook,” she said. “The hospital staff and volunteers keep you positive and upbeat. A positive mindset absolutely contributes to an earlier recovery and return to full-functioning mobility.”
After spending a few days in the skilled care program, she was able to return home. She continued to receive physical therapy services for a few weeks through Mercy’s outpatient physical therapy program.
“When you go in for physical therapy, the staff pushes you to your limit and they also make it fun and care about your comfort,” said Pickle. “I looked forward to going. I knew that they were really concerned that I did well so I could get better.”
About Skilled Care
The skilled care program provides additional care or pain management for a patient, like Pickle, after a hospital discharge. The program provides a step-down service — or transitional care — after a patient stays at the hospital for three or more days but before returning home.
Through the program, Mercy’s hospital team delivers a variety of services focused on the patient’s recovery so he or she can quickly return home. The average length of stay in the skilled care program ranges from about 10 to 14 days, but can vary based on the patient’s needs.
Skilled care services include physical, occupational and speech therapies; cardiac monitoring; intravenous (IV) medication administration; daily injections; feeding tube adjustments; respiratory treatments; complex wound care; nutritional counseling; 24-hour nursing care (if medically necessary); and patient and family education for new conditions, such as diabetes or colostomy care.
In addition to the medical services provided, an activities coordinator will also meet with patients to play games, work on puzzles, listen to music, take them on wheelchair rides or simply talk to them. This helps reduce stress and pass the time during their recovery.
“Our skilled care program really focuses on developing achievable goals for patients so they can get physically stronger and go home when they achieve those goals,” said Erin Scammahorn, manager of physical medicine at Mercy Hospital Kingfisher. “What is so helpful about the program is that patients have access to all the services and medical providers they need under one roof so they can concentrate on healing.”
How to Get Started
Patients must meet certain Medicare or insurance plan requirements to qualify for skilled care at Mercy. Medicaid does not cover skilled care services. A referral by a provider or a case manager is required.
If you or someone you know is considering skilled care after a hospital stay, ask your provider or case manager about Mercy’s skilled care program requirements and whether there is a location close to your home or to a loved one. In Oklahoma, Mercy offers skilled care services in Guthrie, Healdton, Kingfisher, Tishomingo and Watonga.
Pickle says she is thankful for the skilled care program in Kingfisher.
“Everyone who walks in that room is friendly and helpful,” she said. “They listen to you and are there to serve you. They treat you like you are a member of their family.”
To learn more about Mercy’s skilled care program, contact a case manager at Mercy Hospital Kingfisher at 405-375-7939.
Mercy is the fifth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves millions annually. Mercy includes 34 acute care hospitals, four heart hospitals, two children’s hospitals, three rehab hospitals and two orthopedic hospitals, nearly 700 clinic and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.