By Anna Jauhola
The overwhelming success of the Kittson Memorial Foundation’s fundraising over the last year has provided new defibrillators and a bladder scanner, as well as matching funds to complete a negative pressure room in the hospital.
Kittson Healthcare employees just finished training for the Zoll R-series ALS defibrillators on Wednesday, Sept. 13. The previous defibrillators – a machine used to shock cardiac patients’ hearts back into the right rhythm – were 15-plus years old and were rented units. Although the company performed preventive maintenance, they needed to be replaced.
“The FDA has regulations on equipment, so it was time we needed to upgrade our defibrillators,” said Tawyna Sorenson, RN, director of nursing and administrator of hospital services. “The new ones are capable of monitoring a patient, capable of defibrillating and it can do an external pacemaker until we can get them where they can get a pacemaker.”
While the old defibrillators also had those features, the new machines have updated pads that are more convenient and faster to adhere to a patient when time is of the essence.
The foundation identified these machines as a priority and designated the 2023 Score Fore Golf Tournament funds to purchase two defibrillators. Foundation President Deb Cederholm said the golf tournament funds fully covered the cost of both defibrillators, which was $34,507.13.
Sorenson said the machines also have built-in guides for CPR.
“It will tell us the quality of CPR, our compression depth and rates,” she said. “So if we’re going too fast, it’ll tell us to slow down. It has a timer, so it lets us know when it’s time to analyze that rhythm, whether we should shock or if it’s time for medication.”
The machines will soon find their permanent homes on crash carts – one in the Emergency Room and one to be used in the ER overflow and cardiac rehab.
The foundation also purchased a BladderScan i10 system, which is an ultrasound machine specifically made to detect how much urine a patient is retaining.
“It’s intended to be noninvasive,” Sorenson said. “Before we had it, you used to put a catheter in to measure the urine. This machine will help reduce bladder infections because you can get infections from using a catheter.”
The bladder scanner has already been used extensively throughout the Kittson Healthcare facility in the clinic, hospital and nursing home. It eliminates unnecessarily catheterizing patients on any level.
“There’s a big federal push and state push with reducing catheter-associated urinary tract infections,” Sorenson said. “It’s a very important tool.”
The foundation entirely funded this machine as well at a cost of $11,784. Most of those funds came from the foundation’s annual Christmas letter campaign.
The foundation also helped fund Kittson Healthcare Hospital’s negative pressure room. When COVID-19 hit, the hospital could not house patients with the disease because they didn’t have a negative pressure room. Through a USDA Track One Recovery Grant, Kittson Healthcare hired Krause Anderson to revamp the northeast corner of the hospital wing into a negative pressure room. This reduced the hospital rooms from 15 to 12, Sorenson said. But, it created a space for isolation of any patients who have an airborne illness such as COVID or influenza. It can also be used for patients who need isolation due to c.Diff or shingles.
The main hospital room has a special fan in the ceiling above the bed that removes and filters the air. Adjoining is a large private bathroom for the patient, which has automatic lights as an infection control measure, and a changing room for medical personnel. The changing room has an exterior door through which nurses and doctors enter to change, then an interior door that goes into the patient room.
The main room has its own door into the hallway that remains closed while a patient is in isolation to keep all germs inside the room. Monitors in the changing room indicate whether that door is open and if there’s an issue.
“We haven’t had to use the room yet,” Sorenson said. “It’s been ready to go, but we haven’t had anybody we’ve had to put in isolation.”
The entire project cost $344,667 and Kittson Healthcare received a USDA grant and an ARP SHIP Award, among other funding sources, to complete it. The foundation provided matching funds of $28,093.
By Anna Jauhola