Rehabbing at Sante of North Scottsdale

January 18, 2019 – Whoops!

Accidents happen, even red scooter accidents. In mid January, I fell off my zippy mobility scooter after taking a curbed curve too quickly and fractured my pelvis in three places. Ouch! After a brief hospital stay, I was transferred to Sante of North Scottsdale where I convalesed for over a month. What follows is a mixture of gratitude and grievances regarding my experience. It is my hope that this thorough review positively influences Sante’s mission in “redefining healthcare rehabilitation.”

 

Arrival

I couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome to Sante of North Scottsdale than that I received from Melissa T., CNA. She immediately made me feel that I was in competent, caring hands, and in the right place to heal. As a CNA throughout my stay, she was always “present,” attentive to what needed to be done, calm and encouraging.

Rehabilitation therapy

Excellent rehabilitation therapists and equipment

Sante was not my first inpatient rehabilitation rodeo. As someone living with FSH muscular dystrophy, I have undergone physical and occupational therapy on both an outpatient and inpatient basis before. Given my past experiences, I was immediately impressed by the level of informed care and unwavering encouragement that I received from my main therapists, Katie, PT and Lynn, OT. They were always prepared, availed the latest equipment and technology, and made a positive difference in my recovery process. With the exception of one therapist with whom I declined to work based on her shocking lack of awareness of my injury and condition, the rehabilitation team was excellent.

Nursing staff

The nursing staff felt “like a box of chocolates”; I never knew what I was going to get in terms of professionalism, responsiveness and awareness, especially at night (more on that soon).

The days went pretty smoothly thanks to consistently helpful and cheerful CNAs, including Alex, Ethel, Sonny, Megan, David, Jimmy, Melissa and Schelia. (The latter also deserves notable praise: Schelia M., CNA possesses an obvious intelligence of advanced body mechanics that made me feel extra confident in her care. In my moments of despair and distress, she was there for me with encouraging, comforting words for which I am eternally grateful.)

As evenings approached however, I felt far less confident being left alone without my husband or caregiver due to the staffing changeover, both in terms of the inconsistent quality of personnel and the lack of an effective procedural communication process. Some of the night shift CNAs impressed me as responsive and responsible as possible; I felt confident that Anthony, Celina, Nathaniel and Lisha would attend to turning me without pain because they were focused, good listeners and well trained. Other CNAs however were clueless that I had pelvic fractures, what side they were on, and what that meant in terms of overnight care. After a couple of unnecessarily painful and emotionally exhausting rotation experiences, my personal caregiver posted a sign on my door stating my injury, hoping that this critical information would be more assuredly known to all staff.

Soon after, in a meeting that I requested with management leaders, Virginia and Michelle, I stated my concerns regarding the quality of nighttime care. I recommended a “point of reference board” in patients’ rooms stating injury, medications, contact person, nurse and CNA on duty, therapy times, etc. Similar boards are found at most hospitals and rehab facilities, and would certainly serve to improve the quality of care at Sante of North Scottsdale.

Another distressing situation at night involved a CNA coming in to turn off the hourly “turn light,” but walked away from helping me with painful muscle cramps because she said she was prioritising turning off other turn lights. (Seriously?!) She assured that she would get back to me afterwards, but never returned! I was left in increasing pain, fruitlessly squeezing my call light and crying for help until a day shift CNA (Schelia) just happened to hear my voice – almost an hour later. From that night forward, my husband spent most nights with me because we couldn’t depend on the training or response time of the nighttime staff, especially when coughing attacks from a head cold set in. (Death by mucus is not the way I want to go!) An emergency call light system that sounds to the nurses station could be a lifesaver.

Physician care

An internist and a rehab doctor, Dr. Holdsworth and Dr. Ben-Aviv respectively, monitored my progress about once a week. These two doctors gave thorough answers to my medical questions and seemed to value my input.

The mid week timing of my discharge, however, was poorly planned as it meant that I had to wait an extra two days for the discharge doctor on duty (who was neither of the above doctors). After the delay, the discharge doctor spent less than one minute with me – and I am not exaggerating. During his visit I was turned on my side looking away from him (I could’ve been a lump of pillows for all that he knew); he never examined me physically or explained my future prognosis, or other stuff you might expect after a very lengthy convalescence. It left us wondering why we wasted two days waiting for him to sign me out.

Culinary

Excellent food. Excellent staff. Excellent service.

Housekeeping

Yasmine was never without a smile, always accommodating and extremely professional.

Care management

This department needs fine-tuning. We experienced the following frustrations: incorrect, alarming information regarding insurance; weeklong delays, some of them unnecessary; what felt like a “no can-do” attitude, usually without a smile; and the need to personally follow up with insurance and the care management department to make sure everything was getting done. Recovering from pelvic fractures is extremely fatiguing; with the exception of Geri and Stephanie, dealing with this care management team made it extra stressful. I should’ve been moved over to acute rehab two to three weeks prior than when authorization finally came through.

Maintenance

Joe quickly and confidently installed a soft call light for me, which was critical and much appreciated.

Other items that needed attending were never addressed: a leaky shower wand, a continually falling bed lamp, shower water that never got more than nearly lukewarm, and the bulletin board lost its stickiness. The latter are merely snafus in an otherwise quiet, pleasant room.

The best part

I left functionally healed; new friendships were forged; and the location allowed for some memorable wheelchair strolls, especially at sunset.

I am forever grateful for everything that was done on my behalf at Sante of North Scottsdale that enabled me to walk again. Within hours of being released, I was back on my red scooter beeping away – albeit a little more carefully.

February 27, 2019 – Back in the red scooter saddle

3 thoughts on “Rehabbing at Sante of North Scottsdale

  1. Being in the care of strangers is scary enough for those of us who don’t have full control over our physicality but to add the pain of a very awkward fracture and some poor service makes for a fraught experience. I am glad there were so many positives and really hope that the facility makes constructive changes thanks to your sharing. Good luck with the continued recovery and good to see you Red Scootering again 🙂

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