Promoting a smooth continuum to outpatient care.
Ambulatory Care – or Outpatient-Services are an integral link in the continuum of care at Helen Hayes Hospital. Within this department, specialized nurses assess each patient to gather information and are able to implement a broad range of nursing interventions to assist patients in maintaining optimum health an well-being. Many of our patients are followed over the course of many years and during that time, relationships have been formed between the patients, nurses and physicians. Often it is these relationships that help facilitate the monitoring of a patient’s overall condition and assessment of the level of support services they need to stay healthy within the community.
A wide variety of our patients attend specialty outpatient clinics where they are followed by the same skilled physicians who cared for them while they were inpatients at Helen Hayes Hospital. However, not all of our outpatients have been inpatients at Helen Hayes Hospital; we serve anyone who can benefit from the expertise of our clinicians, particularly in the areas of Traumatic Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury and Amputation, Stroke, Post Polio and Cerebral Palsy.
One of the many conditions we treat in Ambulatory Care Services is spasticity (an unusual tightness of the muscles, which can be a complication of some disabilities. Patients can receive referrals for therapy, wheelchair adjustments, orthotics, medication adjustments and Botox injections. Future plans include the expansion of our spasticity program to include trials of the spasticity treatment drug Baclofen and Botox injections for Overactive Neurogenic Bladder.
Another of our major outpatient specialty areas is the treatment of osteoporosis. Three expert physicians see patients for evaluation and treatment. Osteoporosis patients can also come in for medication instruction and infusion and injection therapy.
Patients being referred for Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation programs also visit Ambulatory Care Services. They attend their initial intake screening and are evaluated by our exercise physiologist before heading to the Cardiac Rehab Lab.
Our outpatient Orthopedic Clinic is another of our outpatient services and a prime example of how the continuum of care can come full circle. A consulting Orthopedist comes weekly from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and evaluates and treats adult patients with orthopedic issues, some of whom need surgery. If after surgery, they need inpatient care and physical therapy, they can come to Helen Hayes Hospital and eventually return to the Ambulatory Care clinic for follow up care.
Another component of Ambulatory Care is the procedure suite where we have the capability of performing surgery under general anesthesia. The main population of our procedure suite is patients who are unable to undergo dental procedures in an office setting due to physical and/or emotional disabilities. These patients are referred to our facility and are evaluated by our dentists. Following their procedure they remain in the recovery room until stable and are discharged back home.
The procedure suite has also expanded services to include Podiatric Surgery. Dr. Peter Costa, a local podiatrist, performs the procedures under anesthesia. The conditions treated include bunions and hammertoes as well as other podiatric issues, and we hope to expand our services in the future.
By taking advantage of these and other Ambulatory Care Services available at Helen Hayes Hospital, patients are able to access the same quality of care our inpatient facility is so well known for, while retaining the comfort and convenience of being able to return to their own homes.
Phyllis Sheldon, RN