Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Washington County Public Health officials discussed plans for a service that would assist diabetic patients in the county hospital system at a meeting on Thursday.
“When I first started here in September, we had the idea to collaborate with the hospital to improve community outreach … within the diabetic population that were at high risk for readmission,” Public Health Nurse Sara Hammes said.
The program is called STABIL, which stands for, “Successful Transition Arriving Back home with Informed Lifestyle choices.”
Hammes said the program would help typically under-served patients.
“These would be patients that don’t have access, or they’re not eligible for skilled nursing or home health services, so they kind of fall in a gap,” she said. “Whether they are a new diabetic or they are a recurring diabetic that keeps getting admitted for their elevated blood sugars … they might need more assistance (or) more education in the home.”
Hammes said STABIL patients would receive three in-home visits to help connect them with necessary resources like medications, doctors and caregivers, and to ensure that those resources were being used correctly.
“Our goal is to go into the home and provide about three visits … we haven’t decided on the spacing of those, there’s still some fine details to work out,” she said. “Our goal is that they do not have readmission back into the hospital hopefully at least within that three month window.”
While the program has some bureaucratic hurdles to clear before implementation, Hammes said the department tentatively planned on launching it in February.
Hammes said the program, which will be funded by a public health grant, would be free to all patients.
“It will be free to the patient, and that will be very clear to them,” she said. “We really want as many people that are eligible for it to partake in it … it is truly a public health service.”
While STABIL will only target diabetic patients at launch, Hammes said it may expand in the future to others with the need for health education.
“If it does well with the diabetic population, depending on staffing and what our agency can handle moving forward, we would like to look at expanding it at some point,” she said. “COPD or CHF … have a lot of readmissions or a lot of different things that could benefit from a home health nurse going in or public health nurse going in.”