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Intermountain Healthcare Employees Win Awards For Outstanding Efforts To Improve Patient Experience And Reduce Opioids

Intermountain Healthcare Opioid Tiger Team

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, USA, October 24, 2018 / -- Caregivers and teams from Intermountain Healthcare hospitals from Ogden to St. George, Utah, and a system-wide team to reduce opioid use were honored with Spirit of Intermountain awards for their efforts to exemplify Intermountain's Fundamentals of Extraordinary Care during a recent meeting of Intermountain's leadership team.

Here's a sampling of how these award-winning caregivers showed extraordinary compassion in both emergency situations and everyday care.

First responder supplies placed in cancer center at Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital help patients in an emergency

Brittania Doxstader, a critical care tech in the cancer center at Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah, noticed it takes several minutes for the emergency response team to arrive at the far north end of the hospital with medical supplies when a medical code is called. To solve the problem, she purchased a bag and filled it with medical supplies a first responder would need. She presented the idea to Donna Chapman, RN, and other leaders with a written business plan, a review of the current campus response policy, and a prototype bag. "This is an incredible solution to a problem with the patient at the very center," says Chapman. "Brittania was very proactive in solving a patient safety problem."

Caregiver who delivers meals at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital recognizes patient’s pre-heart attack symptoms

Michelle DeHaas, health unit coordinator at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (TOSH) in Murray, UT routinely delivers meal trays to patients and she takes the responsibility seriously. When she delivered a tray to a patient who was sweating profusely, she went beyond her responsibility to make sure he was all right. Even through though he said he was OK, Michelle notified the care team, and they responded quickly and found the patient was in the early stages of a heart attack. "Michelle took a role that was broader than the task in front of her," says Michael Woodruff, MD. "She stopped after noticing the patient didn't look right and escalated her concern. Because of her quick actions she probably saved this patient's life."

Intermountain Garfield Memorial Hospital team sets up water filtration system after flash flood

After a flash flood contaminated the Panguitch, UT water supply last July — which meant the hospital team was unable to use the city water in any way — Garfield caregivers went to heroic lengths to ensure patients still received the best care. Team members including Nick Frandsen, Justin Woolsey, Steve Ikuta, Eric Wilkinson, Bob Bryant, Alberto Vasquez, Tony Matthew, and DeAnn Brown quickly set up a water filtration system. They planned how to provide meals for all the hospital's patients, caregivers, and long-term care residents. They even seamlessly coordinated laundry services with Intermountain Sevier Valley Hospital. "This team exemplified putting the patient first," says Jeanee Shakespeare, RN. "The spirit of teamwork and doing whatever it takes was at the forefront of their work."

Opioid Tiger Team working to reduce the number of prescribed opioid pills at all Intermountain Healthcare facilities

The Intermountain Opioid Tiger Team came together in early 2018 to drive three system level goals to decrease the number of tablets prescribed for acute conditions by 40 percent, to decrease the co-prescribing of opioids and benzodiazepines by 15 percent, and to increase the number of patients with opioid use disorders treated with buprenorphine by 10 percent. The team has worked to spread opioid abuse-prevention messages to caregivers, patients, and community members — and their efforts were recently recognized at a national Community Anti-Drug Coalition conference. The Opioid Tiger Team includes Frank Nguyen, Heidi Hall, Dave Hasleton, Brad Gillman, Bridget Shears, Steve Hadley, and Lynsie Daley. "Delivering on these goals has been a major lift that truly demonstrated teamwork," says Lisa Nichols, Community Benefit behavioral health director. "This team has significantly influenced both caregiver and patient behavior in support of helping people live the healthiest lives possible."

Dixie Regional Medical Center team helps coordinate end of life care for Korean accident victim

When a Korean woman was in a terrible car accident while on vacation, the Intermountain Dixie Regional Medical Center care management team in St. George, UT came together to ensure she received the best care. They considered the family's cultural needs regarding end-of-life care and figured out how to help them with communication, finances, travel, housing, and emotional support. Interpreters were engaged to ensure the team respected the language of the family and helped provide information to help them make appropriate decisions. The care management team includes Megan Chepkwurui, Colette Paxman, RN, Roger Erickson, LCSW, Victoria Graff, CSW. "This team walks with patients and families during their greatest moments of grief, loss, and life changes. They do so by ensuring the patient and their ideals and goals are at the center of every individual care plan," says Amber Kayembe, case management director.

Family members receive final EKG memento when patients pass away at Intermountain Medical Center

As a way to help comfort the family members of patients who passed away on her unit, Lisa Beglarian, RN, from Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, UT prints out the patient's EKG strip showing their final heartbeat and puts it into a lab tube, along with a thoughtful note for the family. Lisa's idea has been shared with fellow caregivers and they all now use the same practice. Lisa has even worked to collect expired lab tubes, so no resources are wasted. "This is a precious gift for grieving families who have a loved one who has passed away," says coworker Cassie Garcia. "Lisa sets a great example with her empathy."

Intermountain Healthcare is a Utah-based not-for-profit system of 23 hospitals, 170 clinics, a Medical Group with about 2,300 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health plans group called SelectHealth, and other medical services. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare through high quality and sustainable costs. For more information about Intermountain, visit

Daron Cowley
Intermountain Healthcare
+1 801-442-2834
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