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Center offers free rides for patients, caregivers
Patients who need to have surgery at the Aurora Surgery Center in Plymouth, WI, have one less thing to worry about, since the center began offering free rides to patients and their caregivers.
Patients and caregivers, who are picked up at their homes, must live within 30 miles of Plymouth. They call ahead to schedule their transportation, which can be one-way or round trip. The van service is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
Patients who are using the van service are "highly encouraged" to bring along a caregiver on the day of their procedure, says Christine Larson, RN, BSN, manager of the center. Up to two caregivers can be transported per patient. The patients must be able to get from their home into the van without assistance from the driver. Arrangement can be made for wheelchairs.
The surgery center is transporting about 12 patients per week, Larson says.
The person behind the wheel is no ordinary van driver, according to Larson. "The van drivers had been previously employed through Aurora Health Care as couriers and are both former firefighters/ EMTs," she says. "They have both been trained by the manager of plant services on the appropriate daily safety checks prior to van operation."
In the event of an emergency involving a patient, the drivers have been instructed to pull off the road and dial 911 from a cell phone, Larson says. "In the case of a nonemergent, but urgent matter, they are calling a nurse manager or RN nursing supervisor either at the Aurora Sheboygan Clinic or at the Aurora Surgery Center in Plymouth for guidance/direction," she says. The drivers also have written policies to follow regarding matters involving blood/body fluid exposure and inclement weather. [Those written policies are available.]
The van was purchased with contributions to the Aurora Health Foundation. The $40,000 cost covered the van, a paint job, and a small emergency kit.
While the service is free, donations are accepted. Free rides also are offered to the Aurora Health Center in Plymouth.