The Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 for their regular meeting. The talking points on the agenda included a presentation by Cynthia Van Woeart, director of homeware services with Phelps Regional Homecare, a professional assessment of the PCRMC Medical group by professional consultants, and other updates from different hospital departments.

Cynthia Van Woeart’s presentation covered Phelps Regional Homeware, which is a division of PCRMC that offers home health, hospice and in-home services throughout the region, including Pulaski, Maries and Crawford Counties, and portions of Dent, Gasconade and Texas counties.

Van Woeart’s presentation discuss the three main services directed by patients’ primary care providers within the division.

The first of the services discussed by Van Woeart was the home health services designed for “patients recovering from illnesses or injuries who need nursing assistance or therapy,” according to meeting documents. This branch of care focuses on recovery and teaching patients about self-management. This branch features skilled nurses as well as physical, occupational and speech therapists.

The hospice services discussed next are for patients nearing their end of life. According to Van Woeart and meeting documents, these patients usually have a prognosis of 6 months or fewer. Hospices teams reportedly include a hospice medical director, skilled nursing staff, social worker, chaplain and many volunteers. The hospice team composed of these individuals helps with patients pain and symptom management.

The in-home services concluding Van Woerts’ presentation are for patients who need assistance from qualified homemakers to accomplish chores such as cleaning and cooking, or nurses to help organize medications and provide personal care.

“Home health and in-home services provide a transition, with support form nurses, therapist dn aides, to help patients be successful in following their discharge plan to avoid unnecessary readmissions,” said Van Woeart. “Many hospice patients want to be in the comfort of their homes and the hospice team will give patients, caregivers and family members the support and care needed to control pain, manage symptoms and provide care and comfort at end of life.”

Following Van Woerts’ presentation, and the conclusion of the financial committee’s reports, the board discussed the assessment process implemented through ECG Management Consultants, who visited PCRMC from Nov. 28 to Nov. 30. The goal of the visit was to identify opportunities for improvement in the Medical Group. These ECG consultants previously met with PCRMC providers on Nov. 16.

Representatives from ECG interviewed providers on admission processes and observed work flow in provider offices.

A steering committee will review the information provided by the consultants next month and develop recommendations for the Medical Group.

The hospital board also discussed a new capital campaign by the Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation, which will be reviewed and many come back to the PCRMC Board of Trustees at a later date.

Finally, the board discussed the completion of the premier phase of the renovations to three PCRMC operating rooms that began in July of this year. The second phase will begin in January of 2018 and will take approximately 28 weeks. These renovations include an updated HVAC and a streamlined workflow process and improved patient experiences.