Caring for Our Community During the Pandemic and Beyond
Wheat Ridge, CO - Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Lutheran Medical Center’s commitment to providing high-quality, safe care has been unyielding. We have been working tirelessly to save lives, protect staff and educate our community.
Here’s a look at how we took on the early challenges of COVID-19 and how we’re moving forward.
Planning for the Crisis
In early March, when it became clear that the virus was spreading rapidly, Lutheran quickly assembled an Incident Command Center, staffed with leaders throughout the hospital, including representatives from the departments of Quality Management, Risk Management, Infection Prevention and other key areas. This team developed a coordinated response plan to procure personal protective equipment, provide testing, create treatment protocols and ensure compliance with the latest guidance from federal and state health agencies.
“We now have 85 specific processes for managing COVID-19,” says Sean Rossetter, Director of Quality. He adds that although the hospital was obliged to adopt these measures in an abbreviated time frame, Lutheran benefited from its culture of continuous quality improvement, which involves constantly monitoring, assessing and refining processes to achieve better outcomes. This had prepared the hospital to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. “It felt natural to move forward and do what we needed to do,” Rossetter says.
A View from the ICU
Late March was a particularly busy period in Lutheran’s Intensive Care Unit, with more than 40 critically ill patients. During that time, Deneen Tansgrud, Manager of Regulatory Affairs, volunteered to go back to the ICU, where she had spent most of her 34-year nursing career. As the hospital added 12 critical care beds and new isolation areas to handle the influx of patients, Tansgrud helped the nursing staff adapt to team nursing, in which each nurse focused on performing specific tasks for multiple patients rather than managing a patient’s entire spectrum of needs on his or her own.
“I was able to immediately apply my ICU nursing knowledge and skills, and as a result of my new role, I brought a new understanding of regulatory guidance that helped me explain why we needed to do things a certain way,” she says.
As the region moves to the next phase of the COVID-19 response, Infection Prevention & Control Manager Jessica Strauch has been at the forefront of implementing numerous protocols to ensure a safe environment. For example:
- All hospital staff, patients and visitors wear masks to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
- Anyone who enters the hospital undergoes a symptom screening process, and testing is offered to all associates who exhibit symptoms, as well as patients scheduled for elective procedures.
- All patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are cared for in separate, cohorted units.
- Enhanced cleaning protocols include cleaning with chemical disinfectants as well as ultraviolet light.
- The BioVigil® system encourages hand hygiene compliance with wearable electronic badges that remind clinicians to clean their hands before every patient interaction.
It’s especially important not to ignore symptoms, especially chest pain, sudden dizziness or confusion, trouble breathing, or other issues that would cause you to seek emergency care. We’ve instituted numerous safety protocols in Lutheran’s Emergency Department (ED), including treating high-risk patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 in negative pressure rooms, which prevent virus particles from spreading. We have also created a drive-up testing area to limit the number of patients in the ED who could potentially infect others. And all ED clinical staff are equipped with personal protective equipment and follow strict procedures to ensure that all patient interactions are safe.
“Many of our infection control processes were in place long before the pandemic,” Strauch says. “And with these enhanced measures in place, the hospital is actually one of the safest places you can be.”
Providing the Best Care Possible
Quality Ratings and Awards
- 2019 NCDR Chest Pain – MI Registry™ Performance Achievement Award
- American Heart Association – Stroke – Gold Plus
- American Heart Association – Target: Stroke – Elite Plus Honor Roll
- DNV-GL Comprehensive Stroke Center – Platinum
- Healthgrades® America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award™ for three consecutive years
- Joint Commission Accredited
- Joint Commission Top Performer on Key Quality Measures®
- The Leapfrog Group “A” Grade for five consecutive years
Certifications and Accreditations
- Accredited Echocardiography Facility
- Accredited Nuclear Cardiology Facility
- American College of Cardiology Chest Pain Accredited
- American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Center of Excellence
- American Nurses Credentialing Center designated Hospital Pathway to Excellence
- Baby-Friendly Designation
- Certified Cardiac Rehabilitation Program
- Colorado Department of Health and Environment Colorado Healthy Hospitals Compact – Platinum Level
- Commission on Cancer Comprehensive Cancer Program
- Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
- Level III Trauma Center
- Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program
- National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers
SCL Health is a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to improving the health of the people and communities we serve. Founded by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in 1864, our health network provides comprehensive, coordinated care through eight hospitals, more than 180 physician clinics, home health, hospice, mental health, and safety-net services in Colorado and the Montana Wyoming region.