Helps Hospitalized Patients with Complex Conditions Complete Their Treatment Before Returning Home

“We managed to avoid an amputation and the patient was able to walk out of our unit,” says Dr. María L. Rodríguez, medical director at Triple-S Salud, with great satisfaction while describing one of the success stories of the first and only personalized subacute care unit operating in Puerto Rico.

“This diabetic foot patient had been in and out of the hospital and had already been told that the next step to tackle the infection was amputation. Her doctor referred her to us and, although it was not easy, we were able to control the infection and avoid amputation. Another case that demonstrates the importance of this type of care is that of a patient who, because he was bedridden, had very deep skin ulcers that reached into bone. Thanks to the care provided by our team, he recovered, and we even managed to get an air conditioner for his house to prevent him from having problems again due to the heat,” she explains.

Bridge Between Hospital and Home

Dr. Rodríguez was in charge of implementing this subacute care unit model—also known as step-down unit—in Puerto Rico and assures that it addresses the need for intermediate care for those patients who could be discharged, but still require specialized care that cannot be provided at home. “Our unit provides care for ulcers and non-healing wounds, patients recovering from tracheotomy, colostomy, and gastrostomy. We also offer complex antibiotic treatments in cases of osteomyelitis, cellulitis, and sepsis. These are patients who are no longer in an acute stage that requires hospitalization but sending them home is a risk that can bring them back to the hospital,” says Dr. Rodríguez.

Integrated Services and Personal Assistant

The unit treats patients hospitalized in other institutions, who are referred by their physicians to receive the specialized care they need to recover successfully before going home.

The unit is staffed by physicians, nurses, and other professionals specialized in subacute care who provide 24-hour services.

“We review referrals and, if accepted, Triple-S transports the patient at no cost to them. From the moment the patient arrives, they are assigned a personal assistant who is in charge of coordinating all the care they need, including full follow-up care upon their discharge. This includes follow-up appointments with their physician, medication prescriptions, and support to ensure adequate care at home,” says Dr. Rodríguez. In addition, during their stay, they are also offered services such as lab tests and preventive exams that may be needed. The unit serves Triple-S Advantage and Triple-S Salud (commercial) members and operates independently from the seventh floor of Doctors’ Center Hospital in San Juan. Patients enjoy a more relaxed environment and can walk around the facilities if their condition allows, have access to board games and books, and enjoy free cable service, including premium channels. This also includes access to iPads with wifi to encourage them to keep in touch with their families. The facilities were completely remodeled and are equipped with the latest technology.