Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital Steps Forward in COVID-19 Community Crisis Response

On March 30, Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital (VWCH) was part of a Unified Command Response to support relief efforts for a crisis in Gallatin, Tennessee — a region northwest of the hospital’s location in Lebanon.

In collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Department of Military and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, the hospital accepted transfer of 25 residents of a nursing home impacted by a COVID-19 outbreak.

As of April 9, six of the patients had tested positive for COVID-19, and seven remained in the hospital’s care. Of the original 25 patients, 18 have since been discharged.

“We have been diligently preparing for the impact COVID-19 may have on our facility and were ready to receive an influx of patients when we received the call,” said Jay Hinesley, MHA, president of VWCH.

“I am very proud of the team for the compassion and professionalism they showed while responding. The state acted swiftly, and we appreciate all of the agencies that worked to coordinate the care of the patients impacted.”

Teams across the hospital quickly mobilized to admit the patients, get them comfortably in a room and ensure their needs were met. Staff from the hospital’s quality, respiratory, radiology and cardiopulmonary departments assisted with transporting patients to the units as they arrived so the nurses could focus on receiving them.

Employees from the hospital’s quality, surgery and case management departments and other nursing leaders assisted with admission nursing assessments on units to help patients settle into their rooms.

In the Emergency Department (ED), staff worked to pre-register patients prior to their arrival to avoid any delays in the admitting process.

“There was not a delay in getting patients registered in any of our settings that day, from the ED, direct admits or the nursing home patients,” said Kayla Evans, AEMT, admitting supervisor for the ED at VWCH. “I cannot speak well enough of how great our staff worked together. I am proud to lead this great department into future successes and to be the supervisor of admissions here at Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital.”

The hospital’s medical staff credentialing department helped get several providers emergency credentialed to assist with care of the patients, and collaboration among the nursing teams, Environmental Services department and Food and Nutrition department ensured patients had everything they needed upon their arrival to the units.

Cardiologists, hospitalists and nurse practitioners from Vanderbilt’s main campus in Nashville also drove out to assist.

"This was a huge endeavor," said Fredia Fisher, BSN, RN, clinical director of the hospital’s 1-North inpatient unit.

"The teamwork that we experienced with the VWCH staff, operating room staff and VUMC staff all coming together to work as one was amazing. We delivered exceptional quality care under the most challenging circumstances.”

To date, VWCH has treated 14 COVID-19 patients. Eight COVID-19 patients are currently admitted, and the hospital has not had any deaths related to COVID-19.

Physicians from Vanderbilt University Medical Center have since led discussions with nursing facilities for 50 miles around to help minimize the chances of another hot spot.