A Focus on Long Term Care at Vibra Hospital Charleston

"Don't be confused by the phrase 'long-term.' We are every bit as much a hospital as MUSC or Johns Hopkins," advised Dan Dunmyer, CEO of Vibra Hospital of Charleston. "The difference is, we offer long-term acute care, where the average patient stay is 25 to 30 days."

The average stay in a short-term acute care hospital, such as those mentioned above, as well as East Cooper, Roper and other local hospitals, is three to five days. Vibra works "in partnership with those facilities, to finish what they start," Dunmyer explained, "affording the patient a continuum of care and time to heal."

"Many of our patients have multiple issues," he continued, "such as a diabetic with congestive heart failure who suddenly finds himself on a ventilator."

Respiratory therapy is one of many areas in which Vibra excels.

"We have designed a program, 'Free to Breathe,' wherein we administer a number of diagnostic tests to help us determine each patient's specific ventilator and clinical needs."

This innovative, unparalleled program addresses the pulmonary, neurologic and muscle mechanics of respiration and "gives patients the highest chance of coming off, and staying off, a ventilator," Dunmyer elaborated.

Dunmyer's soft-spoken, humble manner understates Vibra's phenomenal wean rate: It's currently 80 percent, and, by year's end, that percentage will approach 86 percent.

"We are typically able to wean a patient, previously unable to come off a vent, within 15 to 20 days," he said.

Vibra's comprehensive approach to respiratory wellness includes various rehabilitation therapy modalities because a physically stronger patient is more likely to feel better sooner. And, obviously, a strong clinical presence from the nursing and medical staff team members contributes to that success.

"We start with 'early mobility,'" Dunmyer stated, "sometimes starting with just getting the patient to sit up or sit on the edge of the bed," building up to walking with a vent and ultimately weaning from the vent entirely.

Neurology is another area of expertise for Vibra. Arriving neurology patients are typically bedridden, suffering from a traumatic brain injury, a stroke, an aneurism, infection, spinal cord injury or the like.

"The neurology team from MUSC comes to us," Dunmyer reported. "We all work together to strengthen patients and prepare them for a rehab facility."

Dunmyer elaborated: "The patients come to us at a transitional time in their recovery. They are still facing a complex diagnosis of neurological and medical problems. We find the earlier the patient transitions to Vibra, the better the outcome and the faster they get to rehab."

On-site, Vibra addresses all aspects of the neuro patients' needs, from medicine to physical and occupational therapy and even speech.

Caring, innovative, patient-focused programs are the hallmark of Vibra. The end goal of every team member, from top to bottom, is getting the patient back to enjoying his or her life – back to better!

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