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  • Gage Awards Quality Winner 2022

    Inpatient Rehabilitation Post Open-Heart Surgery Helps Patients Return to Daily Life Activities – Faster and Safer

    Open-heart surgery patients can now enjoy full functional lives post-surgery, thanks to a new treatment prior to discharge that uses rehabilitation as a bridge to full recovery. Patients discharged directly home after open-heart surgery have a higher survivorship than patients discharged to post-acute care facilities, making Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute’s customized rehabilitation program ideal for patients to return home and enjoy a higher quality of life post open-heart surgery.

    Memorial’s program called, “Keep Your Move in the Tube: Alternative to Standard Sternal Precautions,” is focused on customizing a program for patient’s self-identified goals, such as holding a baby post open-heart surgery, or going fishing. The rehabilitation team simulates activities and role-plays with patients so when they are discharged, patients are safe and thriving.

    Smart Snippet: Video
    Datasource: 2022 Gage Awards      

    Previously, as part of their inpatient treatment, patients who had open-heart surgery were given strict precautions that limited function and prevented lifting and pushing with the arms – known as sternal precautions. These limitations may increase the chances that patients are transferred to a post-acute facility for further care, delaying patients from doing some of the most routine activities of life.

    “Instituting rehabilitation earlier in a patient’s recovery during their hospital stay and further customizing it for each individual patient has shown a huge positive impact in the patients’ lives and an increase in our overall patient safety,” said Susan Triano, ClinScD, CCC-SLP, FACHE, director of Rehabilitation Services, Memorial Regional Hospital. “Open-heart patients have greater freedom of movement and increased functional independence. This evidence-based practice can be adopted by any caregiver to enhance the outcome for patients everywhere.”

    Memorial’s goal was to increase the percentage of patients being discharged home, rather than been transferred to an acute care facility for further management. Before the program was instituted, 42% of patients were discharged directly home, and 58% were discharged to a secondary facility. In a year and a half of the program’s implementation, 86% discharged directly home, 14% discharged secondary facility.

    Because of this innovation in care that is centered on patient safety, Memorial Healthcare System received the 2022 Gage Award from America’s Essential Hospitals. Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute has become a destination center with best practices in care and outcomes. To learn more and/or make an appointment, call 855-400-6284.

  • Dr. Paula Eckardt

    Knowing Your HIV Status Could be the Difference Between Life and Death

    While COVID-19 has rightfully been the infectious disease most people have focused on since 2020, it is far from the only one affecting South Floridians.

    Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) also continues to have significant impact, with more than 40,000 individuals diagnosed each year in the U.S. And while not the death sentence it was once perceived to be, one in seven individuals is living with HIV without knowing it, putting their own health, and that of other members of the community, at risk.

    Like COVID, HIV doesn’t discriminate by race, age, gender, or sexual orientation. Broward County has one of the highest rates of new HIV cases in the nation and more than 20,000 people currently living with the disease.

    The good news is scientific advancements and drug therapy have enhanced our ability to treat HIV, making it a manageable chronic condition. If left untreated, however, the disease can weaken the immune system to where it can no longer fight infection. This later stage of the virus, known as AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), can be deadly.

    Know Your HIV Status

    That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care, and more often if the individual’s lifestyle includes sexual or drug-related activities that increase risk.

    Some “at risk” behaviors as described by the CDC include, but aren’t limited to:

    • having sex with someone whose sexual history you don’t know,
    • having sex with someone that has HIV but isn’t taking or fully compliant with medications prescribed to control the disease,
    • a man having sex with another man,
    • any person who has been diagnosed for a sexually transmitted disease, and/or
    • sharing needles or other drug injection equipment.

    Whether positive or negative, it’s critically important that everyone know their HIV status.

    At Memorial Healthcare System, we’re working to ensure individuals know where they stand regarding HIV. We provide screenings to patients who come through our emergency departments, visit our primary care offices, and have free testing sites in the community. We’re also participating in the Frontlines of Communities in the United States (FOCUS) Program, utilizing a grant from Gilead Sciences to encourage routine screenings, lower the number of undiagnosed persons, and link those who test positive to healthcare services.

    HIV in 2022

    Notable advances in medicine have changed the way healthcare professionals help their patients prevent HIV or manage the disease. For example, infected persons can now take an antiretroviral medication to achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load, preventing the transmission of the disease to their sexual partners. Additionally, preventive medicines are available to help minimize the spread of the disease. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily medication, can reduce the risk of acquiring HIV through sexual contact or drug injection by 90%. Another option is to take post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) after a high-risk exposure. If the medication is started within 72 hours of potential exposure it has been shown to be highly effective.

    The last four decades of the HIV epidemic highlight astounding scientific discovery and advocacy, but also underscore stigma, discrimination, and disparities based on sexual orientation, race, and socioeconomic status.

    As a community, our focus should be on prevention strategies, including increased testing, access to equitable care, and medications that help minimize the transmission of HIV. We must also support our neighbors and those who are living with the disease.

    Where to Turn for HIV Testing

    Memorial Healthcare System offers no-cost, rapid HIV tests that deliver results within 15 minutes. Two locations in South Broward County – 4105 Pembroke Road and 5647 Hollywood Blvd. – are open Monday–Friday, from 8:30 am - 5 pm. Appointments are available by calling 954-276-1616, but walk-ins are also accepted. Additional information is also available on our Infectious Disease page.


    Eckardt Paula AAbout the Author

    Paula Eckardt, MD, is chief of the Division of Infectious Disease and medical director of the Infection Control program at Hollywood-based Memorial Healthcare System, one of the largest public healthcare systems in the U.S. and a national leader in quality care and patient, physician, and employee satisfaction.

  • Memorial Cancer Institute ASCO patient centered cancer care certified

    Memorial Cancer Institute First in Florida to Achieve Certification Through American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Patient-Centered Cancer Care Pilot

    Memorial Cancer Institute is among the first nine oncology sites in the nation, and the first in Florida, to achieve certification through the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) Patient-Centered Cancer Care Certification pilot based on its adherence to oncology medical home (OMH) standards, a single set of comprehensive, expert-backed standards for patient-centered care delivery. Published by ASCO and the Community Oncology Alliance (COA), these rigorous standards focus on seven domains of cancer care: patient engagement; availability and access to care; evidence-based medicine; equitable and comprehensive team-based care; quality improvement; goals of care and palliative and end-of-life care; and chemotherapy safety.

    “We are thrilled to be among the first in the nation to be recognized for our commitment to high-quality cancer care by demonstrating our program's ability to meet rigorous care delivery and quality improvement standards,” said Meredith B. Feinberg, vice president, Memorial Cancer Institute and Moffitt Malignant Hematology and Cellular Therapy at Memorial Healthcare System. "Every member of the Memorial Cancer Institute team, from physicians and healthcare professionals to our administrative staff made significant contributions to ensure this journey ultimately benefits our patients.”

    Beginning in July 2021, Memorial Cancer Institute, along with 11 other oncology sites in the United States, prepared for surveyors to conduct site visits to assess performance relative to each ASCO-COA Oncology Medical Home Standards. With guidance from surveyors, Memorial Cancer Institute further transformed cancer care delivery, including the development of improved workflows, staff education and training on the new initiatives, and compliance data monitoring to demonstrate success. To achieve certification, Memorial met 17 care delivery standards and 22 chemotherapy safety standards.

    Memorial Cancer Institute will continue to work with ASCO leaders on these important value-based initiatives to review quality improvement initiatives, patient satisfaction surveys and oncology clinical pathways utilization, as well as data on quality measures, such as advance care planning, depression screening, chemotherapy in the last 14 days of life, and pain assessment to maintain certification and demonstrate its continued commitment to providing high-quality cancer care.

    “We commend all of the certified practices for their achievement and dedication to transforming their practice. By doing the work to meet these standards and achieve certification, these practices are better equipped to succeed in a value-based system and deliver high-quality, equitable, evidence-based care for every single patient,” Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO, Chair of the Board of the Association for Clinical Oncology.

    The pilot is slated to end in summer 2023. Over the next year, Memorial Cancer Institute will continue to work on quality assessment and improvement activities to maintain its certification.

    About Memorial Cancer Institute

    Part of Memorial Healthcare System, Memorial Cancer Institute is one of the largest cancer centers in Florida, treating more than 4,600 new patients each year. Memorial Cancer Institute, with research partner Florida Atlantic University, is one of only five programs designated by the Department of Health as a “Cancer Center of Excellence in Florida.” Memorial Cancer Institute will soon open a new freestanding facility in Pembroke Pines that will include radiation oncology, breast oncology, hematology-oncology, and Moffitt Malignant Hematology and Cellular Therapy at Memorial. It will also feature private infusion bays, a boutique and salon, conference center, physician offices, meditation room and a rooftop garden that will cement Memorial’s place as a home for world-class cancer treatment, research and high quality patient and family-centered care.