Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, care providers and healthcare facilities worldwide have shared the same goal - to continue providing top quality, safe care to all patients while performing best care practices to help prevent the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
Now more than ever, the care teams of Pomerene Hospital and Altercare Majora Lane are working together to keep residents of Holmes County and surrounding communities they serve, safe and in good health. Both organizations have proactively implemented leading safety measures and have continued to safely care for their patients and residents throughout the many months of the pandemic.
Most recently, in an effort to prevent COVID-19 hospital admissions, a cutting-edge immunotherapy infusion called Bamlanivimab, better known as BAM, was approved to be administered to Altercare Majora Lane residents diagnosed with COVID-19. BAM is currently being administered to patients found to be at high risk for severe symptoms of COVID-19 and to those who may need hospitalization if left untreated. It is most effective when given early and needs to be administered within 10 days of the onset of symptoms. By administering BAM within Majora Lane, residents do not have to go to the hospital and can remain in the comfort and familiar setting of Majora Lane.
There are many individuals to acknowledge for the approval and administering of BAM to Altercare Majora Lane residents, including one of Pomerene’s very own, Beth Amicone, Nurse Practitioner at Pomerene Hospital. Beth has been with Pomerene for 23 years, first as a staff nurse and now in her 5th year as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She serves many caregiving roles in the Holmes County community, splitting her time between Altercare Majora Lane, the Holmes County Jail, Pomerene Express Care and caring for inpatients of Pomerene Hospital.
Amicone was actively following COVID-19 news and research, especially concerning BAM and the studies behind the medicine. Once the hospital began receiving and administering BAM, Amicone decided to work on getting it for residents of Majora Lane.“If it could keep one or two residents out of the hospital, it was worth it. These residents deserve everything that the general public can get and I was going to make sure that I did everything I could to make that happen,” Amicone stated. She introduced her idea to use BAM with her collaborating Internal Medicine physician and Majora Lane’s Medical Director, Pomerene’s own, Dr. Rohini Kalisetti, who supported the idea wholeheartedly.Kalisetti’s exact response? “Go for it!”
Amicone stated that getting approval took a bit of fast-talking, several emails and phone calls since time was of the essence to capture those residents within 10 days of their initial infections. From there, things move very quickly. “On a Tuesday night at 9 p.m., it took an ‘okay’ from Altercare Majora Lane Administrators and by Wednesday morning, we were administering the first BAM infusion.” Beth Amicone stated.
Since the approval to use BAM by Majora Lane, 24 residents have been infused with the medicine with no side effects or negative infusion reactions.At present, they are all doing well and have avoided hospitalization although Amicone warns, “It’s still very early. BAM is not a cure and will not guarantee a positive outcome - this is still COVID-19 in a very high-risk population.” Amicone also acknowledges the staff at Majora Lane. “They have all been amazing.Dealing with the virus in a nursing home is an absolute nightmare situation and every single team member has stepped up to the plate in so many ways. They really do care about every single resident. When I talked to staff about how complicated doing the infusions would be, they never hesitated for a second to help make it happen.”
“We are beyond proud to collaborate with Pomerene Hospital to offer this vital treatment to the vulnerable population we serve,” Chad Giauque, executive director at Altercare, said. “It is a welcomed partnership, one that we hope will continue to flourish. We understand that these times call for innovation and we are humbled to have had this opportunity. It will save lives.”
“The goal in using BAM is to see a decrease in hospitalizations within these high-risk categorized patients.” Stated Amicone. In order to qualify for BAM, the patient needs to be at least 12 years of age, and adults must be 65 or older or have another risk factor including:
Patients 55 and older with heart disease, lung disease or those undergoing immunosuppressive treatment also qualify for BAM. The qualifications for pediatric COVID-19 patients over the age of 12 include:
The collaboration between Pomerene Hospital and Altercare Majora Lane team members made this cutting-edge treatment possible for the residents within Majora Lane. Pomerene was pleased to provide BAM as well as the supplies needed to begin distributing BAM, such as IV fluid, tubing and other items. Beth Amicone specified that she had all the support in the world. “From Dr. Kalisetti’s support, to Craig Gilt, Pharmacy Director at Pomerene for being so willing to help facilitate this endeavor and to the entire care team at Majora Lane - they helped me make this possible for our residents.”
Fran Lauriha, Pomerene Hospital CNO, is proud of the efforts put forth by both organizations.“This is such a positive story of success given all the uncertainties that we have faced over the last year with the COVID-19 pandemic. It confirms that when healthcare providers from different organizations work together to deliver the highest quality care, the best possible outcomes will be achieved for patients. We are beyond proud of the Pomerene team for leading this initiative.”
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