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Bridging the Gap

transitional care unit

Twenty years ago, Torrance Memorial opened the doors of its Transitional Care Unit (TCU), a skilled nursing facility that supports patients as they move from hospital care to home or alternative care. As clinical director, Charlene Cottrell has been very involved in the TCU since it was licensed in 1994.

When a patient arrives in the TCU, dedicated staff members assess his or her individual needs and make a plan for the patient’s stay, with the goal of restoring each person to the highest level they may be able to achieve. Patients have access to nurses, therapists, nutritionists, social workers and others who give them support during this time. Regular meetings between the TCU team, patients and their doctors and caregivers keep everyone informed of the progress toward the patient’s goals.

Rehabilitation is the focus of the TCU, and this is reflected in the physical setup of the unit. Unlike patients of the main hospital, patients of the TCU wear their own clothing, eat in the unit’s own dining room and have access to a gym and scheduled activities that encourage socialization, including with the patient’s own family members. Close monitoring of each individual’s health needs reduces the chance that patients will need to be readmitted to the hospital later.

Looking to the future of the unit, Cottrell says, “Skilled care will be growing over the next 20 years as all of us Baby Boomers grow older.” The team at Torrance Memorial is ready. “We are working on plans to do what is best for the continuum of care here at the medical center and to meet these challenges of the future.”

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