November 15, 2022 – Jean Gore is independent, taking care of her house and running necessary errands.
“Thank goodness, I’m able to get up and go, drive my car and get around town on my own,” the 84-year-old Hinton native says.
Gore says she’s thankful for her mobility, as two accidents have resulted in the need for in-patient physical rehabilitation.
And though both accidents caused serious injury – she fractured her right femur and left ankle in 2010 and fractured her pelvis in 2021 – neither forced her into nursing home therapy.
Instead, when the time came, Gore simply transferred to a skilled nursing “swing bed” at Summers County ARH Hospital.
Wes Dangerfield, hospital CEO, explains Summers County ARH, a Critical Access Hospital (CAH), is multi-licensed for 25 beds, all of which can be utilized for any combination of care, from observation, to acute to swing bed for an extended stay.
Gore was admitted as a transfer patient for therapy, but, in other cases, patients already admitted to Summers County ARH can transition from acute to a swing bed without ever changing rooms.
Skilled nursing through swing bed care, Dangerfield says, typically lasts anywhere from 7 to 21 days, as the goal is to prepare patients like Gore for a return home.
“The goal isn’t for a patient to remain here forever, but rather for a shorter duration of time to help them heal so that they can go home,” he says.
For senior citizens, swing bed rehabilitation as opposed to nursing home rehabilitation, might also help ease anxiety.
“A lot of times, a swing bed is the middle ground,” says Cady Pugh, a certified occupational therapy assistant (OTA) at Summers ARH.
Pugh says swing beds can often provide a certain level of comfort to both patient and family who are concerned a temporary rehab stay might turn into permanent nursing home living.
“You’re going to see if they can rehabilitate to the point where they can go home, either with or without assistance, before potentially going to a nursing home,” she explains.
“It gives the patients and family time, as well as peace of mind.”
Also, as in Gore’s case, it allows patients an opportunity to recuperate close to home – where family can visit and even stay the night – as opposed to traveling for care in facilities throughout the state.
Family visits for Gore were also made easier by the proximity of her daughter Kristi Scott, the rehab manager for the hospital, who was only a quick elevator ride away.
“It was comforting to have her here,” Scott, a physical therapist, says, adding that sentiment is often shared by others. “Patients sometimes have to travel to Charleston or somewhere for surgery or other specialty care, but they love coming back here for rehab because they say it’s like coming home.” Gore agrees.
“I was real happy to be in my own community,” she says of her swing bed experience. “I think the people in this area are very thankful for the hospital.”
Summers County ARH
In addition to offering rehabilitation services to those recovering from injury, Dangerfield says Summers County ARH’s swing beds offer additional treatment such as wound care and extended IV antibiotic care treatment.
“And you have an emergency room physician and an entire multidisciplinary team available at all times,” he says. “So you can have peace of mind knowing that you can have services provided in a hospital setting that you can’t get anywhere else.
“You have all you need in one place, so you can get better and on to your next step.”
For more information on swing bed rehabilitation, contact Summers County ARH Hospital at 304-466-1000.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) is a not-for-profit health system operating 14 hospitals in Barbourville, Hazard, Harlan, Hyden, Martin, McDowell, Middlesboro, Paintsville, Prestonsburg, West Liberty, Whitesburg, and South Williamson in Kentucky and Beckley and Hinton in West Virginia, as well as multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, home medical equipment stores and retail pharmacies. ARH employs more than 6,500 people with an annual payroll and benefits of $330 million generated into our local economies. ARH also has a network of more than 600 active and courtesy medical staff members. ARH is the largest provider of care and the single largest employer in southeastern Kentucky and the third-largest private employer in southern West Virginia.