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Winter Weather: A Barrier to Treatment

Winter Weather: A Barrier To Treatment

Question: Each winter many hyperbaric oxygen therapy patients have difficulty getting to their scheduled treatments due to inclement weather. What recommendations do you have for helping keep patients' treatment schedules on track when the weather is a barrier to treatment?

Answer: While achieving optimal patient outcomes are critical and patient compliance/education/comprehension are extremely important, patient safety must be considered above all else.

Transportation and psychosocial aspects have to be addressed for patients in times of inclement weather. Whether it’s a tropical storm, a hurricane or a blizzard, more senior patients are often less able to handle challenging road conditions and asking them to so might be irresponsible. In an attempt to please the caregiver, the patient might unknowingly put themselves in danger so the caregiver needs to exercise caution in ‘forcing’ the situation.

If the individual is using public transportation, those services might be halted days before and after a weather event potentially impacting the patient’s care and condition in a negative manner and so proper planning by the departments’ staff is invaluable. For example, if a severe weather event is projected a week in advance the caregiver(s) should consider working with the patient’s physicians, DME providers, and the patient’s family to make sure the patient has access to medications, supplies, water and food in quantities enough to last through the weather event and any recovery period that might or not be anticipated.

Remember to stay in touch with the patient or their caregiver/family member through regular phone calls, so you can keep them engaged with your clinic, connect them with any further support services they might need. By keeping them engaged with your clinic they'll be more likely to resume regular treatments once the weather subsides. 

Unfortunately, there are going to be times when department managers will not make their budgets due to adverse events impacting patient care such as severe weather. When operations have been impacted by major hurricanes, numerous blizzards and ice storms, remember that it is just part of life and the key is to make sure that we get our patients back in as quickly as safety considerations allow so we can get then back on the right healing track.

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  • Are you a clinic manager or medical director who wants to increase patient load and referrals but has no money for marketing?
  • Are you losing money due to incorrect billing and coding?
  • Do you want to become a profit center for the hospital but inefficient business operations are holding your clinic back? 

If you don't know where to start, how to start, or what you need to know to take your clinic to the next level, this free 4-part mini-course is for you. 

This mini-course is taught by Dr. Michael White, MD, MMM, CWS, UHM and course director for the live two-day workshop, The Business of Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine

You Will Learn:

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Lesson 2: [Video] The explosion of chronic wounds in the U.S. and the opportunity for wound care and hyperbaric medicine clinics to serve more patients.

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Join us for this free 4-part mini-course and jump start your clinic business today!

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Wednesday, 28 February 2024