Protecting Patients Who Need It
Adventist Health Bakersfield, a 254-bed hospital serving California’s Kern County for more than a century, partnered with Crothall to provide Patient Sitter & Observation Services for at-risk patients.
The Patient Observation Team at Adventist Health Bakersfield is an example of Crothall’s commitment to problem-solving for its valued partners. The team provides cost-effective solutions for observing disoriented or elevated-risk patients, keeping clinical staff focused on providing the best care for their patients and within shift hours.
“Crothall’s creativity is just what we needed to secure some of our most vulnerable patients,” said Heather van Housen, Patient Care Executive at Adventist Health Bakersfield. “The unique training and service of Crothall’s Patient Observation team keeps our top-flight nurses at the top of their game so they continue to offer the highest standard of care.”
Some patients have a higher risk profile, such as altered mental status, requiring an extra level of safety with one-to-one coverage by a qualified staff member. This person was often a registered nurse (RN) or certified nurse’s assistant (CNA), which took away from clinical staff involved in patient care. The loss of personnel led to higher expenditures and premium pay, as well as lower patient experience standards due to the lack of available staff.
Adventist Health Bakersfield has enjoyed a productive relationship with Crothall since 2010 when Crothall began providing Environmental and Patient Transportation Services. The program has evolved since its inception and the Patient Observation Service is the latest in Crothall’s innovations to address the client’s specific needs.
“Our clients look to us to find solutions to the needs of the day, including ‘how can we reduce costs, increase safety, minimize risk, and keep nursing at the bedside?’” said Lauren Prepchuk, Crothall Regional Vice President of Operations. “We quickly worked with our internal Crothall teams to provide Adventist Health a solution that will reduce costs, along with delivering technology innovations and a robust standardized training program.”
Creating a Safe Environment
Crothall’s Patient Observation Team is specialized with core training in managing the risks of patients who may compromise their own safety and care. The team members are recruited specifically for potential inpatient-focused protection roles. They also acquire the decision-making skills to excel in de-escalation techniques and the methods to handle common situations.
Crothall designed a custom training program to bring hospital employees into the team. The program includes patient safety, infection prevention, fall prevention, IV line protection and situational awareness over a multiple-day session that includes classroom instruction and live simulation in a mock setting.
“We make sure team members can protect themselves as well,” said Ken Grissett, Crothall Unit Director. “The training includes ergonomics and any other skills that a Patient Observation shift may require.”
A Better Patient Experience
Patient observation is best for people who need it most. The team is responsible for the safety of people experiencing behavioral or mental health emergencies and other highrisk patients. From environment checks to safe handling of meals, patient observers handle every aspect of safety so nurses and CNAs can stay at the top of their licenses.
“This is our only service line in which we’re with a patient for every minute of their stay,” said Prepchuk. “The staff, employing Crothall’s Positive Impressions™ strategies and using the technology to appropriately communicate with hospital leaders, allows our team to proactively manage those patients’ experiences while they are still there.”
Observation reporting is as personal as health care gets. Crothall’s patient observation system also features staff reporting, covering the reason for an observation call and its ongoing status. This can be updated in real time for team members’ mobile tablet devices, giving observation team members the ability to attach records to the patient’s electronic medical records (EMRs).
Observing Great Results
The team stays efficient by adjusting to demand. The program has expanded since its inception in 2019, with the ability to expand staffing based on need. Crothall’s management of all aspects of patient transport, from patient lift teams to valet and courier services, with staffing levels based on minute-to-minute hospital needs.
“The safety numbers speak for themselves as well,” said Kay Petersen, Resident Regional Director of Operations. “We’ve had zero patient falls resulting in injuries while team members were present, as well as increased clinical and leadership satisfaction with our program. The best compliment we can get is being asked to take on more, and we have expanded staff as well as our services to support an additional Adventist Health location serving Kern County’s Tehachapi Valley since the program’s inaugural year.”