March 23, 2011 Kokomo Perspective
Behind-the-scenes caregivers play big role in health care
hen youthink of St.Joseph Hos-pital, youthink of doc-tors and nurses. But thereare more behind-the-scenescaregivers (669) than thereare doctors (157) and nurses(260) combined, and thosebehind-the-scenes care-givers have an equally im-portant role to play when itcomes to taking care of pa-tients.
Working 24/7/365 are thefolks who can performabout 700 different proce-dures in chemistry (findingout the patients’ glucose,cardiac enzymes, creatinine,bilirubin, etc. levels), hema-tology (checking blood), mi-crobiology (studying avariety of specimens),pathology (examining tis-sues) and coagulation (as-sessing how blood clots),said Gail Greene, director of the lab.Quality control is para-mount. For example, when aphlebotomist is drawingblood for a variety of tests,tubes must be filled in a spe-cific order because the nee-dle which pierces the tubescan carry additives from onetube to the next, resulting incross-contamination and in-accurate results.Some tests have to bedone within minutes of ablood draw or there couldbe inaccurate results.“For some patients, weshouldn’t draw from onearm,” said Sandy Herman,director of marketing. “Gailand her staff are very goodabout making sure every-thing’s done right.”“The results we give affecta patient’s treatment,”Greene said. “That’s why thelab has always been very an-alytical with very high stan-dards of quality.”Accuracy is also crucialbecause doctors also use labresults to reach a diagnosis.“You can come to the hos-pital with a pain in yourside,” said Mary Beck, atechnologist in the lab.“There can be a lot of rea-sons for that. Testing givesthe doctor clues, a directionto go to figure out what’swrong.”Greene noted the hospi-tal’s blood bank is also partof the lab and is AABB ac-credited; AABB promotesthe highest standard of carefor patients and donors in allaspects of blood banking,transfusion medicine,hematopoietic, cellular andgene therapies, transplanta-tion, and relationship test-ing.
Shelly Wood, manager of material services, and herteam order and distributeseveral hundred thousanditems a year to make surethat the various departmentshave all that they need toprovide the best care for pa-tients.“We provide the rightitems in the right amount tothe right places at the righttime,” she said. “We treat thehospital staff and all the de-partments as our customers.When they need something,we need to respond.”Material services deliverssupplies to the departmentsall week long and checksstock to ensure that prod-ucts that are about to expireare removed and not used.About nine months ago,St. Joseph Hospital beganordering items out of St. Vin-cent’s warehouse in Indi-anapolis; buying in bulkallows the hospitals in thesystem to receive the itemsthey need for less money.“Some people think theyhave to go to Indy for healthcare, but we have the sameitems they have,” Wood said.
Connie Peach, manager of environmental services, andher team provide care to pa-tients by providing a clean,pleasant environment inwhich they can heal.The staff of 45 provideshousekeeping, floor care,linens, setup for meetings inconference rooms, includingpreparing AV equipment,valet service, and selectionof colors when it comes tothe interior décor.“Our main focus is safety,infection control and elimi-nating cross-contamination,”she said. “Our staff has to betrained. For example, somecleansers will not kill certaingerms, so our housekeepershave to know which prod-ucts to use in each area of the hospital. Plus they needto be trained to properly usepersonal protective equip-ment. Even simple things,like pulling a bag out of trash, has to be done in aspecific way.”Herman noted that house-keeping even provides softersheets without wrinkles –wrinkles can be painful for apatient with fragile skin. Thedepartment is
detail-ori-ented when it comes to care.“Our staff is also goodabout talking with patientswhen they’re in their roomsto clean,” Peach said. “Theyoften do little things, likemake sure a tray is close by,or provide an extra pillow,so patients don’t have to aska nurse to do that.”“That allows nurses moretime to focus on patients,”Herman said.
Being in a hospital isstressful to patients andtheir loved ones. That’swhere Marcia Jewsbury, co-ordinator of Workplace Spir-ituality and Planetree at St.Joseph Hospital, comes in.She ensures chaplainswho serve all faith traditionsare available 24/7 to comfortthe sick, to support theirloved ones, and to educatepatients and their loved onesabout advance directivesand end-of-life care. “Wehave great respect and rev-erence for people’s reli-gions,” Jewsbury said.Twice a week, a priestprovides mass. Chaplainsare there to pray for patientsand their loved ones. “Wefocus on the spiritual sidewhen there’s a crisis,” suchas a wreck, a death, a crimevictim, or an accident victim,she said.But Jewsbury and the oth-ers on her team know thatthe hospital workers face alot of stress, too.“We have prayer serviceswhen we have a crisis, like astaff death,” Jewsbury said.“We do stress debriefingafter a crisis.” For example,doctors and nurses mayhave to treat crime victimsand the perpetrator. Doctorsand nurses can go emotion-ally numb so they can stayfocused mentally on the taskat hand in order to take careof the patients in crisis, butafter it’s over, they need todeal with what’s happened.Again, that’s when Jewsburyand her team step in.
Food and nutritionservices
Good food is essential tostaying healthy and support-ing the healing process, soChaoch Seidensticker, man-ager of food and nutritionservices, and his team carefor patients and staff by pro-viding healthy, fresh foodthat’s also convenient.Dietitians provide inpa-tient and outpatient assess-ments, teaching those withspecial dietary needs orhealth issues how to makethe best choices.At St. Joseph Hospital, apatient can order a meal orsnack any time, day or night.That’s important to provid-ing the best patient care be-cause, for example, if apatient’s been sick duringthe night, breakfast mightnot sound so good at 7 a.m.,but the person could be feel-ing better and hungry by10:30 a.m. A patient’s lovedcan also order a meal for asmall fee, which is helpfulbecause many times a lovedone doesn’t want to leavethe person who is sick.Unless a diet is restricted,a patient can order a varietyof foods, including Asianstir-fry and pizza.St. Joseph provides sevendifferent menus, including aliquid diet, a renal diet, a di-abetic diet and a normaldiet. That means a patienton a low-sodium diet, for ex-ample, doesn’t see the foods
by Lisa Fipps
At St. JosephHospital, welive by the phi-losophy thatevery memberof our team isa caregiver.
FROM SOUP TO NUTS —
Chaoch Seidensticker, manager of food and nutrition serv-ices,
and his team prepare a variety of items for the St. Joe
and employees oftenget takeout to take home to their families.