Salisbury VA improves prosthetic device access

Published 2:40 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2016

SALISBURY — Six months ago, a group of Salisbury VA Medical Center employees sat down with a common goal: improve the timeliness of veterans’ access to prosthetic devices. Since then, the group has reduced the number of days veterans in primary care typically wait for the most common prosthetic items from 48 days down to one day, according to a press release from the center.

In years past, if a veteran saw their primary care doctor and needed a prosthetic item – even one as simple as a cane – the process often took multiple weeks and involved the veteran returning to the facility.

Melissa Yost, the Patient Aligned Care Team coordinator at Salisbury VAMC, said the inter-service project team she helped lead first identified the 20 most commonly issued prosthetic items to primary care patients. Using this list, the project team created a process for access points in primary care for Salisbury, the Charlotte Health Care Center and the Kernersville Health Care Center for these items.

Now, veterans in primary care can receive ankle braces, back braces, blood-pressure cuffs/monitor, canes, compression hose, crutches, diabetic socks and other items at the time of their primary care appointment.

“Veterans are sometimes shocked they are able to leave with the equipment they need that day,” said Yost.

The chief of prosthetics, Army veteran Andre Judkins, credits primary care nurses and the nursing team for this breakthrough access project. Nurses do measurements, fitting and education with veterans, which has freed up availability of kinesiotherapists, occupational therapists and physical therapists to spend more time assisting veterans with rehabilitation.

Surgery, podiatry and chiropractic services have also created access points, and others are being reviewed.

“This is only one of many examples of continuous improvement projects we have in the Salisbury system, many which directly improve access to care for veterans,” said Kaye Green, Salisbury VA Medical Center director. “We are excited to see such a tremendous impact on the veterans we see every day.”

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