UW Health’s eICU assists Aspirus Medford, other rural hospitals
WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - For the last 13 years, UW Health has been providing virtual ICU assistance to rural hospitals across Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Right now, UW Health is partnering with seven hospitals and eight intensive care units.
That includes Aspirus Medford Hospital.
“Medford’s been involved with eICU since 2017,” said Jessica Maude, interim V.P. of Patient Care Services for Aspirus Medford.
UW Health has been providing eICU service since 2008. Aspirus Medford joined 4 years ago, giving area patients the care they’d receive at a bigger facility.
“We can see all of the patients telemetries, their EKG tracings, what their heart rate, what their blood pressure is doing, said Lynn Jacobs, Nursing Supervisor for UW Health eICU. “How they’re oxygenating. We can also go into their health records. And we have video, we have cameras is all of the rooms.”
“24/7 around the clock, whenever the needs arise,” added Dr. Jeff Wells, Medical Director for UW Health eICU . They can have a critical care expert at their bedside.”
This allows patients to be treated near home.
“Having that family member to come and see that patient and be involved in the plan of care really is important to us,” Faude said.
Since the start of the pandemic, Aspirus Medford has treated 44 patients via eICU. With so many facilities being unable to take on transferred patients, it’s helped them maintain a high level of care.
“I have partner hospitals that don’t have this service and they’re struggling,” said Faude. “I feel like we’re way ahead of the game because we’ve had this for a few years. We’re comfortable with the providers and the nursing staff.”
The nurses in UW Health’s eICU have an average of 25 years of ICU experience. They can also provide work relief.
“There’s always somebody physically at all of our sites to take care of patients 24/7″ Jacobs said, “but this way in a small town physicians are able to get some more rest and our physicians can take over.”
“Without it I think we might have lost staffing or we may have struggled more,” Faude claimed.
Since the start of the pandemic, UW Health’s eICU has treated about 1,3000 patients across all of their partners, primarily COVID-19 patients.
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