Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care Honors DASH with the Partners in Excellence Award

Santa Barbara, CA May 25, 2017- Following a longstanding annual tradition of collaboration, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care is pleased to honor and recognize DASH as this year’s Community Partners in Excellence. Each year our staff and Board of Directors nominate partners in our community who work with us to provide high-quality patient care and excellence.

Since the inception of DASH (Doctors Assisting Seniors at Home) in 2012 (now known as DASH Medical), there are more than 2,000 Santa Barbara residents who have been enrolled in the program; more than 1,200 are currently active with DASH. Through the years, Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care (VNHC) has enjoyed an exceptionally positive working relationship with the DASH team. The spirit of collaboration between the organizations has included referrals to and from intermittent home care, timely transfers from DASH care to hospice care and vice versa, and strong connections to other community resources that benefited both the patient and their family. The relationship helps patients receive timely needed services like lab testing, physical therapy, home safety assessments and other visiting nurse services quickly and efficiently.

Over the past five years, DASH has been able to increase their breadth and depth of service. Originally designed to serve persons aged 60 and above, DASH now serves adults aged 18 and over who live in the Santa Barbara or Goleta area — either in their own home or in a housing community or in Assisted Living Facilities. They provide same day medical care to adults in their own homes or care settings. By offering prompt medical attention to people who are too ill to wait for an office appointment or too weak to get there, DASH helps them avoid unnecessary hospital stays and trips to the emergency room.

Patients are encouraged to sign-up with DASH before a health crisis arises. Participation in DASH has cut the number of ER visits and hospitalizations by nearly 40 % for those enrolled in their program. The enrollment process involves a home visit from a DASH nurse to learn about the person’s health history and screen for common problems. Also discussed is what kind of medical treatment the patient would like, discussion and assistance with completing a POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) form and review of Advance Health Care Directives. Quite often, referrals are made to appropriate community resources. DASH provides same day in-home (or facility) visits for calls received by noon that day. Nurses and doctors carry several dozen common medications so they can get patients started on treatment right on the spot. Communication of the visit is sent to the enrollee’s primary care physician (PCP) within 24 hours of each DASH visit, keeping the person’s regular doctor up-to-date on new health issues and any treatments provided.

Other growth accomplishments include establishing a partnership with the St. Francis Foundation, a 501 c(3), so that DASH can accept tax-deductible donations to help the organization continue to provide services to low-income Santa Barbara residents without any monthly membership fee.

The nurses and doctors of DASH have made over 6,000 home visits, many of them to VNHC patients. Always included as essential to all concerned, is keeping the primary care physician as central in that circle of home care – surely a key to the DASH Program’s success. The unique feature of DASH’s “in-home response to urgent medical needs,” most certainly has improved not only the quality of care provided to individuals, but has, indeed, served to enhance their quality of life, a primary objective of VNHC service as well.

About Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care
Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care (VNHC) is the leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive home health care, personal care, palliative care, hospice care, and related services necessary to promote the health and well-being of all community residents. Established in 1908, VNHC is one Santa Barbara’s oldest nonprofit organizations serving the greater Santa Barbara area, and Santa Ynez and Lompoc Valleys. VNHC’s mission is to provide compassionate and trusted care for all, including those unable to pay. For more information, visit www.vnhcsb.org or call (805) 965-5555.

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