The University of Vermont Medical Center and Rutland Regional Medical Center are celebrating the 20th anniversary of working together to provide high-quality dialysis care at the Rutland Dialysis Unit. The establishment of the Rutland Dialysis Unit addressed a critical need in the community. Prior to its opening, some patients were traveling to the Dialysis Center in Burlington 12 or more hours a week for the three- to four-hour treatments. Because of this collaboration, patients do not need to make that long and tiring trip to Burlington; instead, they can receive dialysis care close to home and enjoy an improved quality of life.
"This is a great example of the many ways Vermont’s hospitals work together to improve the lives of our patients, and I am so proud of the collaboration," said Eileen Whalen, President and Chief Operating Officer at The University of Vermont Medical Center. "This long-standing partnership allows patients to receive some of the highest quality dialysis care in the nation close to home."
Dr. Wolfgang Weise, medical director, and Patricia Murray, care coordinator and certified nephrology nurse, have been with the center since its inception. Over time, the dialysis team has expanded to include six nurses, seven technicians – all nationally certified – one case manager and, most recently, the addition of Dr. Sree Susarla, all of whom are employed by UVM Medical Center. What began as six dialysis stations has grown to nine, and the center has the capacity to treat 54 patients per week.
"The nine chairs are almost always filled, reflecting the high demand for dialysis services today," Murray said. Medicare gave the Rutland Dialysis Unit a five-star rating for providing a quality of care that is considered "much above average" compared to other dialysis facilities nationwide.
"In spite of the turbulent times we are facing in healthcare, it is gratifying to see the success and longevity of the partnership between Rutland Regional and the University of Vermont Medical Center," said Tom Huebner, President and CEO of Rutland Regional. "Having the University of Vermont Medical Center Rutland Dialysis Unit has enabled our patient population to access this life-saving treatment and improve their quality of life."
The Rutland Dialysis team works to assist the "whole" patient beyond just medical needs. The team partners with local agencies as well as patients and families to address personal barriers and challenges that many patients experience in addition to their medical condition. For instance, many patients live alone and do not have access to reliable transportation to their dialysis. Mealtimes can be a challenge, so a dietitian consults with all of the patients twice a month on healthy meal planning. Case Manager Stacy Ladabouche offers individualized counseling to help patients with coping skills. Rutland Regional Volunteers come into the units to provide blankets, ice, pillows, and get food for the patients.
"We have worked hard to make this unit homey and personal," Murray said. "For many patients this is the only social interaction they might get all week or all month. We all form deep attachments with them. Being connected with a medical facility like Rutland Regional has enabled our patients to have access to many valuable services."
About Rutland Regional Medical Center
Rutland Regional Medical Center is the second largest healthcare facility in Vermont with a national reputation for outstanding patient care, nursing excellence and innovation. Recently recognized in US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Hospitals to receive common care, Rutland Regional was the first hospital in Vermont to receive both the Governor’s Award for Performance Excellence and Magnet Recognition® for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovation. Rutland Regional has also been recognized by the Joint Commission as a Top Performer in Key Quality Measures, honored with an "A" grade by The Leapfrog Group in the fall 2016 Hospital Safety Score and was named by Healthgrades among the top 10% in the Nation for Outstanding Patient Experience and Patient Safety in 2015. Recently designated for a second time, Rutland Regional is a Magnet® hospital, providing the highest level of recognition for quality nursing care.
About University of Vermont Medical Center
The University of Vermont Medical Center is a 447 bed tertiary care regional referral center providing advanced care to approximately 1 million residents in Vermont and northern New York. Together with partners at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, we are Vermont’s academic medical center. The University of Vermont Medical Center also serves as a community hospital for approximately 150,000 residents in Chittenden and Grand Isle counties.
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