Sometimes we have patients who need special care following surgery, an acute illness, or a serious accident. Blue Hill Memorial Hospital has a “special care unit” (SCU) that is set up for this purpose. Patients in our two-bed SCU receive very individualized care. The patient to nurse ration never exceeds three to one, and in very acute cases, our patients receive 1:1 care, 24/7. Expert care from our nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, and other professionals is enhanced by telemedicine – a real-time, high definition connection with experts in our partner tertiary care hospital, Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC).
EMMC’s “Critical Care Connections” allows Blue Hill Memorial Hospital nurses and doctors to communicate with their EMMC colleagues at any time of the day or night, 365 days a year to provide the best possible care to patients with special needs in Blue Hill. We immediately establish a “Critical Care Connection” with our EMMC colleagues whenever a patient is admitted to our SCU.
Experts in Bangor can move the high definition camera to view our patient. The camera can also be adjusted to monitor a patient’s vital signs, respiration (breathing), and medication administration. To complement the high definition camera, EMMC clinical personnel can review our patient’s medical records, where information such as diagnostic images, medication allergies, and laboratory results are stored. A team-based, multidisciplinary approach to patients with very acute needs improves clinical outcomes. An EMMC specialist such as a trauma doctor or cardiologist, for example, might suggest increasing a medication, checking a critical lab result for subtle changes in body chemistry, or contacting the Lifeflight service for emergency transport to EMMC, which is only 11 minutes away by air.
“I have total confidence in our doctors and nurses,” says Deb Kneeland, and experienced RN and manager of the Med Surg floor and Special Care Unit. “My confidence is based on the fact that we know what we do well, and we also know when we need to reach out to our colleagues at EMMC. It’s always about what’s best for the patient, whether we’re in Bangor or Blue Hill.”