December 1, 2015
Oaklawn Home Medical Equipment moves to hospital to improve patient access
MARSHALL – Oaklawn Home Medical Equipment has relocated from its downtown Marshall storefront to a central first-floor site in Oaklawn Hospital.
The service closed for a few days at its former location at 413 E. Michigan Ave. so all of its products and support systems could be transferred. It reopened Monday, Nov. 30, inside the hospital at 200 N. Madison St.
“The driving force behind the move was convenience for the patients,” said Bill DeSmet, Oaklawn’s executive director of support services. “We can have products available to the patients as they leave the hospital, or we can run items up to their rooms rather than ask them to drive to another location.”
The new site lies at the intersection of the hospital’s two most trafficked corridors, in an area formerly used for registration and payments.
That renders Home Medical Equipment easily accessible to visitors as well as patients and their families, said Judy Cole, the service’s longtime manager. What’s more, Oaklawn’s free valet parking service will make visits that much more convenient, she said.
“The new location also will make it possible to work more closely with patient case managers,” DeSmet said. “That will make things more cohesive, and allow us to get our patients what they need to be able to go home more quickly.”
The change also will make it more efficient for Home Medical Equipment staff to work with Oaklawn’s nursing staff to provide prescribed equipment in patients’ rooms as it becomes necessary, DeSmet said.
“It’s a huge benefit that we can get these items to the patients faster,” Cole said, adding that such improved access likely will bring more people to the service.
“We’re used to being an off-site location, so some of the things we have are still suited for that,” DeSmet said. “Now we want to focus more on the kinds of patient needs that we’ll be seeing in the hospital environment.”
DeSmet and Cole said the transition to the new site went well, and praised the efforts of the service’s customer service representatives Brittany Weaver, Courtney Head-Rowse and Sarah Feltner; respiratory therapists Wendy Hunt and Gail Langridge; and driver Jack Scrimger. Oaklawn’s plant operations and information services staff also played key roles in the relocation’s success, they said.
Oaklawn will continue to use the former Michigan Avenue location to handle deliveries of physician-prescribed equipment as well as items that patients rent, Cole said. All communications will be handled at the new location.
The office will open at 8:30 a.m. weekdays and generally will shut its doors at 5 p.m., except on Thursdays when it will remain open until 7 p.m., DeSmet said. Staff will remain on call during evenings and weekends, so the service will continue to provide around-the-clock service seven days a week.
Two customer-service representatives will join Cole in the office during service hours. Because sleep equipment such as CPAP and BiPAP devices remain a chief focus of the service, a respiratory therapist will work Mondays and Thursdays with patients in a specialized fitting room. There, patients can experience working with a CPAP device under a therapist’s supervision.
The service also provides a full range of other devices, including oxygen equipment, nebulizers, suction machines, wearable compression stockings, soft good orthotics, prosthetics, hospital beds, braces, crutches, various types of rolling walkers, canes, patient lifts, lift chairs, wheelchairs, commodes and bathroom safety equipment.
DeSmet said a new service will allow patients to be notified when they are eligible for replenishment of CPAP supplies. Upon the patient’s approval, supplies will be drop-shipped to the patient’s home, he said. Home Medical Equipment staff also deliver and set up prescribed equipment, provide patients with education regarding its use, and answer patients’ and family members’ questions.
Staff may be reached at (269) 789-7034 or toll-free at (877) 883-5636. Information also is available online at www.oaklawnhospital.org/home-medical-equipment.