Obici program gets honor

Published 10:31 pm Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sentara Obici Hospital’s Community Health Outreach Program was nominated as one of 33 finalists for a Jackson Healthcare’s Hospital Charitable Service Award.

Sentara Obici Hospital’s Community Outreach Program has been named as one of 33 finalists for Jackson Healthcare’s Hospital Charitable Service Awards.

The awards are designed to honor and reward hospitals that go above and beyond in terms of innovation, community impact and service, collaboration, best practice and transferability, according to officials at Jackson Healthcare, which provides physician and clinician staffing, anesthesia management, hospital management and healthcare information technology to more than 1,000 hospitals.

“The work done by Sentara Obici Hospital’s Community Health Outreach Program epitomizes the spirit of these awards,” awards chairman Charles Evans said in a press release.

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The recipients of this award will receive a grant of $10,000 to use toward their respective programs. Sentara Obici applied for the grant in October by completing a written application and creating a five-minute video that showcased the impact of its Community Outreach Program.

In December, the Community Outreach staff learned their application was one of 33 nominated finalists out of 110 applicants.

Staffers will find out on Feb. 3 if the program has been selected as one of 10 finalists to receive a prize of $10,000.

If it wins, the Obici group plans to use the grant to pay for “tele-home monitoring.” This new technology will allow program nurses to monitor more patients at home through videoconferencing, saving the time and resources needed to visit each patient’s home. Tele-home monitoring is currently being used by Sentara’s home health care program, and Virginia Savage, director of Community Health and Education, said that expanding its reach will allow the hospital to assist more patients.

The Community Outreach Program provides services for patients below the federal poverty line who are in need of at home health care because of chronic diseases like diabetes or heart failure.

“There is no other program that would provide this type of health management to them,” Savage said. “There is no cost to them.”

The program, which serves patients in Suffolk and throughout Western Tidewater, began in 1998 with grant funding from Obici. It continues to be entirely grant-funded.

The program serves mostly elderly patients and patients with certain social issues that make it difficult for them to maintain a good quality of life without special assistance. Many of the patients that the Community Outreach Program serves have limited reading abilities, and one-third of them live alone, Savage said.

Because of those characteristics, nurses take special care to ensure that the participating patients understand their treatments and then make sure the patients follow through with their prescribed medication and doctor’s orders.

“Caring is the core of this program,” Savage said. “We have very positive outcomes for our patients.”

Patients enrolled in the program have had fewer hospital and emergency room visits, according to Savage, and other hospitals have worked to emulate the program because of its successes.

“We are very proud of our program,” Savage said, “It improves the quality of life for the patients. It improves the quality of life for families. It improves the life of the community.”