Published on February 07, 2020

Quad-Cities Health Systems and Nursing Facilities Collaborate for Improved Care 

A collaboration of Quad-Cities health systems and area skilled nursing facilities are announcing a plan to improve the quality of care for medically complex residents.

Genesis Health System and UnityPoint Health–Trinity have joined together to sponsor the Quad-Cities Senior Care Coalition, a group of area skilled nursing administrative and clinical leaders to address opportunities to improve the quality of care for the patients residing within our area nursing homes.

The purpose of the coalition is to create a sustainable community skilled nursing coalition to improve transitions of care for all patients by sharing resources and data, implementing best practices and person-centered interventions, and utilizing quality improvement process tools.

“While running separate work groups a few years ago, it became clear that there was opportunity to collaborate and achieve improvement in quality care by combining our efforts,” said Glen Roebuck, Executive Director of Home Outpatient and Senior Services for Genesis Health System. “Both Genesis and Trinity experience very similar challenges when attempting to collaborate with area facilities.

“We want to work together to reduce the need for nursing home residents to require emergency care, or be admitted to the hospital. We recognize the significant disruption and potential trauma this causes for a frail patient to be admitted to a hospital. Many times, the best place to receive care is within the health care facility in which they currently reside.

“Historically, hospitals and nursing homes worked very separately from one another.  To better serve our community, we wanted to bring these parties together to address the common challenges we each face, and work together toward solutions.”

Joe Ulloa, Regional Director of Care Management at UnityPoint Health–Trinity said,   “We want to achieve value for all parties, most importantly the patients we serve.  By working together to create common standards for care across the community, and address transition and communication issues between nursing homes and hospitals, we improve the care and service across our community.

“During the time of this coalition, we’ve witnessed our skilled nursing facility partners become more community-minded with an increased willingness to share best practices.  Quite frankly, I have been truly amazed by their willingness to work together for the good of the community.”

Benefits of this collaboration are evident.  Every area nursing home now has the opportunity for access to medical records of patients prior to their transfer from the hospital to their nursing home, to ensure all questions are answered and transfers are as smooth as possible. In addition, participating facilities submit data on a monthly basis that provides a benchmark for how each facility is performing on issues related to readmissions to the hospital and emergency department use for nursing home patients. Readmissions and emergency department utilization are two issues impacting patient lives and comfort.

“No one wakes up in the morning with the desire to need an emergency room visit or hospitalization,” states Ulloa.  “By identifying the reasons for these needs, we can work together as a health care community to identify solutions which lead to better care.”

One clear example of this is the community wide focus to address sepsis. The blood infection is the leading cause of death among the frail elderly, regardless of care setting.  It can be difficult to diagnose, and can be transmitted among elderly patients.

Through collaborative efforts of infectious disease experts from Genesis and Unity Point-Trinity, and work groups from several area nursing homes, a common education plan for nursing home staff and response plan was established.  This allowed the sepsis treatment protocols from area health systems to extend into the area nursing homes, enhancing the level of care for patients in the early stages of sepsis.

Future initiatives will likely be focusing on the reduction of falls, and treatment of patients with respiratory diseases. Falls and respiratory conditions contribute to a high volume of admissions to hospitals and emergency rooms across the country.

“The Quad Cities is fortunate to have high quality health systems in the market,” says Roebuck. “That being said, the best place for a frail elderly adult to receive medical care may not be in an acute care hospital. The staff at high quality area nursing homes, like those voluntarily participating in the Coalition, are among some of the best in the area. The work they are doing as part of the Coalition will reshape the quality of care for all those who receive care in these facilities.”

Participation in the Quad Cities Senior Care Coalition is free for all area nursing homes, with all costs borne by Genesis and Unity Point-Trinity. Current participants in this innovative collaboration include:

IOWA:  ManorCare Utica Ridge; Good Samaritan Society-Davenport; Kahl Home; Lutheran Living of Muscatine; Davenport Lutheran Home; and, West Wing Place in DeWitt.

ILLINOIS:  Allure of Geneseo; Aspen Rehab; Friendship Manor; Heartland; Hillcrest; Illini Restorative Care; Hope Creek Care Center; and, Rosewood.

“We welcome all area nursing homes to take part in the Coalition,” Roebuck and Ulloa agreed. “Our ability to reach and collaborate with other area nursing homes only enhances care for everyone. It is our hope that more area facilities become regular participants in the Coalition’s initiatives.” 

About UnityPoint Health:

UnityPoint Health is the nation’s 13th largest nonprofit health system and the fourth largest nondenominational health system in America, providing care throughout Iowa, western Illinois and southern Wisconsin. As an industry leader in the Midwest, we put people first — they're our sweet spot, what we care about most, and why we do what we do. Our 30,000 team members are committed to giving each person the type of experience we'd want for our own loved ones. We believe everyday moments are worth celebrating, and as your partner in health care, we're dedicated to making it easier to live well. UnityPoint Health, UnityPoint Clinic® and UnityPoint at HomeSM provide easier, more personal care to patients and families. Because people are amazing, and we're here to help keep them that way.

About Genesis:

Genesis Health System, its affiliates and partners, offer a continuum of health care services for a 12-county region of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. Our affiliates include: hospital care at Genesis Medical Center, Davenport and DeWitt, Iowa and at Genesis Medical Center, Silvis and Genesis Medical Center, Aledo, Ill.; home health and hospice services through Genesis VNA and Hospice; Genesis Workplace Services, including occupational health, employee assistance program and wellness services for employers and their employees; the Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House; senior living communities; Genesis Health Group, with more than 330 health care providers; the Genesis Quad Cities Family Medicine Residency program; Genesis Psychology Associates; Genesis Convenient Care clinics; and, Genesis Home Medical Equipment. Partners include Crow Valley Surgery Center, Bettendorf; Center for Digestive Health, Bettendorf; Spring Park Surgery Center, Davenport; and, Genesis Imaging Centers. Genesis manages Jackson County Regional Health Center, Maquoketa, Iowa. Genesis is one of the largest employers in the Quad Cities region with more than 5,000 employees.