South Coast Strong

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael van Duren is reflected in the window of a new physicians consulting room at Bay Area Hospital.

COOS BAY — In what is referred to as one of Bay Area Hospital’s “best kept secrets,” the joint surgery department is beating the state average in patient recovery.

“Our joint program is in its second year as the Joint Center of Excellence,” said Dr. Melissa Coy, BAH’s director of surgical services. “Our length of stay after joint surgery has decreased from three to four days to now two days. Patients are able to go home, which makes for a safer and more comfortable recovery.”

For the staff, the goal is to get patients home first and, if needed, to look for an alternate plan. However, the key is keeping patients informed. Part of that is done online through Recovery Coach, which helps patients understand what to expect and have support from nurses along the way. If some patients don’t use a computer, there is also a guidebook provided.

One of the perks of using Recovery Coach is to help connect the patient’s support group, even if they are across the country, and allows nurses to check in to see how they’re doing. If they haven’t utilized it in a while, nurses call to touch base.

Not only that, but BAH is required to report any surgical infections and had none to report last year.

“That is very significant because it shows the high quality of care we give,” Coy said.

In addition, Coy highlighted that recent outpatient survey results have scored in the top 10 percent and in some scores above the national average.

“A national third party does patient surveys,” Coy said. “I want to give kudos to staff for carrying for our patients, but our community should know about the service we provide.”

Even though the surgery department overall is doing well, Coy said work is still being done to improve.

“In 2019, we have 30 initiatives,” she said. “A lot are internal, related to processes, but patients might notice the waiting room coverage now starts at 6 a.m. where families are greeted and coffee is provided. There is also daily patient rounding by surgical service leaders, asking them about their experience or anything we can address right away. Most of the time they are satisfied, but if there is an issue we can take care of it immediately.”

In addition, there is a brand new surgeon consult room built in 2019.

But what has impacted the most patients in the last year is the revision to BAHs nothing to eat or drink status prior to surgery.

“It used to be don’t eat or drink anything after midnight,” Coy said. “Now it is two hours prior to surgery. It helps with pain control and reduces complications related to surgery like vomiting, dehydration, hypotension, and low blood pressure.”

Among these many changes, BAH also began giving surgical patients “thank you” cards this year. The cover art was designed by one of the nurse’s sisters.

“As someone who was a patient in our department, receiving the ‘thank you’ card is nice,” Coy said. “It is an easy thing to do and it makes a difference.”

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Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.