Hamilton Memorial Hospital was awarded Honorable Mention honors in the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network’s hospital ‘Innovation of the Year’ competition for its ‘Getting Back in the Game’ Concussion Screening Program. Participants were encouraged to submit innovations implemented at their respective hospitals which initiated a new approach to improve patient relationships, implemented a new process flow or life-safety improvement, found a creative way to motivate and inspire staff, or fostered a successful community project.
Denise Browning, Director of Rehabilitation, accepted the honor for HMH during a ceremony held November 11th at The Crowne Plaza, Springfield, and attended by critical access hospital leadership from throughout the state. Victoria Woodrow, Director of Marketing/PR, also helped spearhead the program which involved collaboration with HMH and Hamilton County Unit #10 School District to provide baseline concussion screenings for its HCHS football players.
“Hamilton Memorial purchased a BioDex Balance System which allows for static and dynamic balance testing and training for older adults and athletes. The equipment was intended for our successful outpatient therapy and inpatient swing-bed patients to mitigate falls, but with the added functionality of balance testing for athletes, our rehabilitation staff thought it would be an opportunity for community outreach,” said Browning. “With the passage of the Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act, the timing was perfect to offer Hamilton County Unit School District the baseline testing of student athletes as well as assist the school district by providing a long-tenured local physician to serve on the oversight team.”
The Illinois General Assembly passed Public Act 99-0245, the Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act, in August of 2015. This act establishes a comprehensive plan to provide concussion education; classroom accommodations for students diagnosed with a concussion; ‘return-to-learn’ protocols led by peer-reviewed scientific evidence; baseline testing for student athletes; and a concussion oversight team that includes a physician, school nurse, athletic trainer, and administrative team leader.
“This project exemplified that innovative, ‘outside-the-box’ thinking is sometimes as simple as identifying a need and strategizing ways to fulfill that need that provides benefit to all parties involved,” said Pat Schou, ICAHN Executive Director. “This project goes above and beyond in fulfilling that need.”
The hospital ‘Innovation of the Year’ Award is given annually to the critical access hospital project that ICAHN’s Education Committee and other esteemed judges deem the most innovative or inspiring for the hospital, its employees, patient, and community. Paris Community Hospital/Family Medical Center won top honors this year with its Project Management Team project, and Kirby Medical Center also won Honorable Mention honors with its ‘KirbyWellness’ program.
Pictured is Denise Browning (right), Hamilton Memorial Hospital’s Director of Rehabilitation, accepting the award from Angie Charlet, ICAHN Director of Quality.