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Thursday, 05 January 2017 14:40

Focus groups needed to discuss Swain ER changes

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Swain Community Hospital is looking for small groups of residents to be part of ongoing focus groups to discuss changes occurring in the hospital emergency department.

On Jan. 3, the emergency room at Swain began using a new model in which the ER is staffed with providers and nursing staff for 16 hours of the day (8 a.m. to midnight) and the remaining eight hours will be staffed with an “in-house provider.” That in-house provider working overnight may not always be a physician — it could be a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant.

Although hospital administrators said the change would not impact the level of patient care at the ER overnight, some people in the community, including county commissioners, are worried about how the change may impact overall services.

“The purpose of the meetings is to help our community understand the ED is not closing and will continue to meet the emergency needs of the region, said Lucretia F. Stargell, Swain Community Hospital administrator. “We had heard some lingering concerns from members of the community that perhaps some misunderstanding about the new model remains.”

The hospital did not send out an official press release to the media but reached out to churches in Bryson City, the Swain County Chamber of Commerce and posted an announcement on Facebook.

She said the hospital wants to keep the focus groups small — 8 to 10 people per session — to hopefully create an intimate conversational environment as opposed to a public forum. Residents are asked to RSVP for one of the focus group sessions.

“We haven’t had any response yet and we will add as many sessions as needed,” Stargell said.
The following focus groups have already been scheduled. To RSVP, call 828.488.4013.

Friday, Jan. 6:
10:30-11:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 11:
Noon to 1 p.m.
1-2 p.m.
2-3 p.m.

Click here for the complete article about the ER changes at Swain Community Hospital.

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