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FMCNA Wins Modern Healthcare Award for Innovative Program to Improve Dialysis Patients' Quality of Life


Magazine’s Annual “Spirit of Excellence” Award Recognizes Program’s Dedication to Compassion, Accountability, Respect, Enthusiasm and Service

WALTHAM, Mass. – May 08, 2013  Modern Healthcare magazine presented one of its coveted “Spirit of Excellence” awards this week to Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, in recognition of the company’s innovative new social work program, which has increased patients’ adherence to dialysis treatments by addressing quality of life issues. FMCNA was selected as winner of the “Team Spirit” award for its ability to “recruit and retain individuals dedicated to compassion, accountability, respect, enthusiasm and service.” The award was presented on Tuesday, May 7, to Stephanie Johnstone, FMCNA West Division lead social worker, and Donna McCarthy, West Division president of Fresenius Medical Services, at the company’s Waltham, Mass. headquarters.

Johnstone and her team designed the program to address the stress and trauma that starting dialysis can bring for those with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Dialysis is a life-sustaining process that cleans waste products and removes extra fluids from a person’s blood when chronic kidney disease leads to kidney failure. Some new patients experience pain, depression, sleeplessness and strained relationships, which can lead to missed or shortened dialysis treatments. That, in turn, can negatively impact patients’ health, as well as increase hospitalizations and healthcare costs.

FMCNA’s pilot program, launched in September 2011, called upon its social workers across California, Nevada and Hawaii to deploy tools from the company’s THRIVE! with UltraCare program.  Those social workers also saw the need to create some additional tools designed to more deeply engage patients who weren’t showing up for scheduled treatments, or staying for the prescribed time. These interventions ranged from training patients in stress reduction, communication and the importance of adequate sleep to collaborating with other members of the team to improve mood and comfort during treatment. The overall impact was a more global rehabilitation of the patient.  It was this rehabilitation and improvement in quality of life that allowed patients to focus more on their adherence.

The new nephrology social work intervention model proved so effective it was expanded to more than 400 FMCNA dialysis facilities and 732 patients who were not complying with the frequency and duration of their prescribed dialysis treatments. Over a six-month period of active intervention, 76 percent of those patients who missed and shortened their treatments improved their compliance. As a result, FMCNA decided to implement the new program nationwide. And as of February 2013, program training had begun for social workers at all of the company’s facilities.

“It’s truly an honor to be recognized by Modern Healthcare for our efforts to improve patient care and quality of life,” said McCarthy. “We’re especially proud to be recognized in the ‘Team Spirit’ category, which reflects our longtime commitment to teamwork and collaboration.”

Modern Healthcare’s 20th annual “Spirit of Excellence” awards, co-sponsored by Sodexo Health Care Services, honor organizations and individuals for going beyond what’s expected in serving their patients and communities.

About Fresenius Medical Care North America

Through our leading network of more than 2,100 dialysis facilities in North America and our vascular access centers, laboratory, pharmacy and affiliated hospitals and nephrology practices, Fresenius Medical Care provides renal services to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada. We are also the continent’s top producer of dialysis equipment, dialyzers and related disposable products and a major supplier of renal pharmaceuticals.

For more information about the company, visit www.fmcna.com; for information about patient services, visit www.ultracare-dialysis.com.