ICAHN announces hospital ‘IMPACT’ Award winners

Shown are Kristie DeMayo (left to right) and Belinda Carlson of Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital; Kali Martin of Horizon Health; Johnna Smith and Susan Odle of St. Joseph Memorial Hospital; and Holly Jones, Lexy Damon, and Chontel Whitaker of Illini Community Hospital.

The Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network recently named four Illinois hospitals as its 2021 IMPACT Award winners during ceremonies held November 18 at the I-Hotel and Conference Center, Champaign. These hospitals include Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital, Sandwich; St. Joseph Memorial Hospital, Murphysboro; Horizon Health, Paris; and Illini Community Hospital, Pittsfield.

Participants vying for the award were encouraged to submit innovations implemented at their respective hospitals which initiated a new approach to improve patient relationships, implemented a new process flow or life-safety improvement, found a creative way to motivate and inspire staff, or foster a successful community project.

  • Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital: A report from the CDC found that more than 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. These patients often present with a risk of self-harm or are violent and present a risk of harm to others. To mitigate this risk to staff, patients, and community members, Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital created the Behavioral Health Emergency Department Remodel Project. The Remodel Project has improved safety by installing anti-ligature fixtures, a visual monitoring system, and an overhead door that can be lowered to protect patents and staff from equipment that could be used for self-harm or harm to others. By moving the office for security to a location within the ED, security personnel are also readily available to respond and provide support to patients and staff. This additional security presence helps de-escalate patients who may have otherwise been violent with staff and also reduces the need for the hospital to tie up law enforcement resources. In addition to the physical changes, patients have access to behavioral health specialists via telemedicine where they can be seen by a psychiatrist during their ED visit.
  • St. Joseph Memorial Hospital: In June of 2020, the St. Joseph Memorial Hospital's Culture Team (CT) reviewed the EES survey results and focused on resiliency questions. After discussion, the CT developed the following objective: to build a self-sustaining resilient culture in the environment of a pandemic or crisis, including a space for the staff to recharge. As staff experienced rapid change, PPE shortages, and ED volume surges, the CT realized how imperative it was to begin equipping them with resources/tools to manage their resilience and to practice self-care. The resiliency work was important to help reduce stress, burn-out, and physical and mental illness. The goal was to equip SJMH’s leaders with resources they could use to support their staff. Managing stressors promoted a therapeutic environment for patients seeking care who were also fearful. Staff expressed the Relaxation Room that was created within the hospital exceeded their expectations. Data showed the Relaxation Room was utilized over 100 times in a six-week period and that 100% of the staff found it beneficial. The importance of self-care is now even more a focus at SJMH. Additionally, leadership promotes and supports staff taking time out of their day to recharge, and staff also share ideas on self-care.
  • Horizon Health: Better patient care, improved sepsis pass rates for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ measure of quality care, team collaboration between departments, and physician leadership were important successes of Horizon Health’s Sepsis Improvement Project. Horizon Health was challenged by leadership to achieve a month-by-month 100% sepsis pass rate. The sepsis scores in 2019 were 38%, and in 2020, sepsis scores increased to 56%. During 2021, however, sepsis scores were at 90%, with most months at a 100% pass rate. It was noted that physician leadership helped drive process change as well as staff education. Additional attributes of the program included health improvements for the patients, cost savings, and revenue generation from keeping patients local and not needing transfer to a higher level of care.
  • Illini Community Hospital: Pike County Nurse Honor Guard attends, on request, the funeral or memorial services of Illini Community Hospital nurses wearing the traditional white uniform, complete with cap and cape. The Pike County Nurse Honor Guard ceremony patterns the idea of a military honor guard. The service includes the recitation of the Nightingale Tribute in honor of the deceased nurse, including the “Last Call to Duty.” The Nightingale Lamp is presented to the family in honor of the nurse’s memory. Because burn-out among healthcare workers is at an all-time high and the numbers of nurses leaving the field is increasing at an alarming rate, there seemed to be no better time to honor nurses of the past and also engage today’s nurses in ways that reignite their passion for this calling. The ceremonies of the Honor Guard have honored Pike County nurses from a wide variety of age groups (20s to 70-plus), both presently working and those who have retired. This combined effort has brought nurses of all ages and experiences together to share in their intimate and common bond.