Allegheny Valley Hospital nurse honored as EMS Champion
For registered nurse Lori Shotts, care doesn't end when the patient leaves the hospital.
And her dedication hasn't gone unnoticed.
Shotts, 49, was named a 2014 EMS Champion at the Allegheny County EMS Council's meeting on June 12. She was recognized for her dedication to health care through her work with the Mobile Integrated Care Team at Allegheny Valley Hospital.
“I actually didn't find out until I was there that night,” Shotts said. “I thought we were just going there for a meeting to talk about the new concept.”
The Mobile Integrated Care Team was created in February 2012, known then as the High Risk Care Team. The group was formed to lower the readmission rate of high-risk patients.
“We started to call people at home after they were discharged and do continued care over the telephone,” Shotts said.
The care includes making sure patients are following doctor's instructions and taking medicine on time, and answering questions.
“At any given time, we probably follow about 140 patients,” she said.
Chris Dell, chairman of the council, said it gives the EMS champion awards out each year to individuals who are making a difference related to EMS. He said the contribution could be anything from one act to a lifetime of work in the field.
“This individual was a matter of a project that she worked on over a long period of time,” he said.
Dell said, although he doesn't work with the Mobile Integrated Care Team, he appreciates what's being done for patients.
“It's definitely an honor to recognize folks who are making a difference in their communities,” he said.
The goal of the team is to keep the patients out of the hospital for at least 30 days after they are discharged.
This year, the team added two paramedics and a doctor to help with the continued care. Adding the paramedics allows the team to use the hospital's emergency response unit. Adding the doctor allows for house calls to be made.
“This is the best team I have ever worked with,” Shotts said. “It's constant new ideas; trying new things. It's a part of nursing that I had never been in before.”
Toni Brooks, one of the team's paramedics, was one of those who nominated Shotts for the EMS award.
“She's so sweet and has such a compassionate heart,” Brooks said. “She has so much experience with so many different types of people that I've learned so much, medically.”
Brooks said she nominated Shotts for her work on the team because it is a new concept for patient care.
“What she's doing and what we're doing on the team is new and innovative and something beyond what normal post-hospital care is,” Brooks said.
Brooks, 46, was a paramedic for 20 years before joining the team in January. She said she enjoys seeing a different aspect of care outside of ambulance transportation.
“It's probably just as rewarding — if not more rewarding — than on the ambulance,” she said. “These patients I get to know a little bit better.”
Shotts said she loves going to work with the team of about nine people every day to help patients. She was surprised and happy to be recognized for her work.
“I love what I do, and I was just very, very honored,” Shotts said.
Emily Balser is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-7710 or firstname.lastname@example.org.