Parker nursing director receives United Hospital Fund Award

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Parker Jewish Institute Nursing Director Susan Costella receives the Tribute to Excellence award from United Hospital Fund’s President Dr. Anthony Shih. (Photo courtesy of United Hospital Fund)

Parker Jewish Institute is pleased to announce that its nursing director, Susan Costella, a registered nurse, was recently presented with a United Hospital Fund’s Tribute to Excellence award. The award recognizes extraordinary personal leadership to improve quality of care, patient safety and patient experience. United Hospital Fund selects honorees by their hospital or long-term care organization for their vision and accomplishment.

As the clinical director of Sub-Acute Nursing, Costella was honored for her role in creating a person-centered care plan to reduce the need to administer anti-psychotic medications, to newly admitted patients. This is a challenge often faced by medical care teams, as they balance the risk of patient self-harm and staff injury and the risks associated with anti-psychotic medication administration.

“At times, patients arriving from local hospitals to Parker for rehabilitation may be newly on anti-psychotic medications for a variety of reasons,” said Michael Rosenblut, Parker’s president and CEO. “Oftentimes, these medications may not be appropriate when a patient is transitioning from an acute care setting to a sub-acute care setting, and this can impede rehabilitative services.”

To improve the safety and quality of life of patients as they are admitted to Parker, Rosenblut asked his nursing staff to develop a solution with regards to those on anti-psychotic medication. Costella, along with Dr. Colleen Ariola, Parker Jewish Institute’s vice president for Patient Care Services, came up with a plan. It encompassed an aggressive behavior management strategy, instituted by Costella.

“We advocated a gradual reduction in medications, using a timely interdisciplinary approach immediately upon admission,” Costella said. “In doing so, we enhanced our patients’ quality of life, while assuring compliance with the demands and rigors of governmental regulations.”

Costella’s strategy prompted remarkable and sustained outcomes. This is evidenced by Parker’s current quality measurement reports for short-term stays of patients. These reports reveal that anti-psychotic medications are now at zero percent. This compares favorably with the national average, which is 2.1 percent, according to Ariola. The results were achieved by learning as much as possible about each patient who is admitted and has been prescribed anti-psychotic drugs.

“She instructed her sub-acute team members how to develop person-centered care plans,” Ariola noted.

With over 25 years at Parker, Costella is known for treating patients and residents like family.

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