By Kay Braddock
The message hasn’t quite fully permeated throughout the community, but it’s getting there.
“We’re not a nursing home; we’re a hospital,” Prairie Community Hospital Administrator Parker Powell explains one more time.
As he and PCH Nursing Director Terri Chavez explain the different services offered in the 21-swing–bed Critical Access Hospital, it becomes clear this isn’t their first go-around on detailing the status of PCH.
Forty years ago the facility began as a hospital, offering a variety of services, including general medicine and surgical care, even birthing babies. As time went on, it then became the smallest Critical Access Hospital in the nation, offering only two beds for critical care. During that time period a nursing home was added to the facility’s services. Nine years ago, in January 2001, the facility again changed its status to its current 21-swing Critical Access Hospital.
And what does that mean for patients seeking care?
It means there are no waiting lists, explains Powell, for those patients looking to be placed in PCH’s long-term care. Instead patients who come in needing acute care for a variety of ailments, “swing” into long-term care when that becomes necessary. Respite care is also offered, allowing long-term care patients to stay in the facility for a short period of time giving at-home caregivers a break.
It also means lab work, X-rays and physical therapy can all be done at PCH, as well as emergency care.
Let’s say a patient undergoes hip replacement surgery in Billings, begins Chavez. The patient can return home to Terry and receive physical therapy at PCH. As a hospital, PCH contracts physical therapists to travel to the facility to offer those kinds of care.
“(We’re) trying to work hard … to keep the people here,” Powell said of the services offered. “(PCH) is a small version hospital of Miles City or Glendive.”
Published March 10, 2010