A Day in the Life of an Inpatient Care Coordinator

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Children's View

Suzanne Kamps Suzanne is the inpatient care coordinator for children with complex medical needs who are seen at the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pediatric Care Center. This is a day in her life.

5:45 a.m.

Alarm sounds. First up: coffee.

6:15 a.m.

Her 80-pound boxer/mutt, Tucker takes her for a walk.

7:15 a.m.

Makes the drive from Roxborough to CHOP.

7:30 a.m.

From her cubicle, pulls up CHOP’s electronic medical record system. Checks on the 447 patients currently enrolled in K2C, a program in partnership with Keystone First, to see which children are hospitalized. The program’s goals include decreasing Emergency Department visits, hospitalizations and inpatient length of stay.

7:45 a.m.

While eating a yogurt, she sees that 16 K2C kids are inpatient and another child is in the ED. She reviews their records.

8:45 a.m.

Visits inpatients. First stop: the Progressive Care Unit to check on a 2-year-old boy who is on a ventilator and feeding tube. He’s sleeping. Because of his hospitalization for a serious infection, his long-awaited appointment with an occupational therapist (OT) to be fitted for hand splints had to be canceled. Suzanne asks the bedside nurse to see if OT can stop by his room while he’s here.

9 a.m.

Talks with Progressive Care case manager Susan Muhlig, RN, BS, CCN, to see if she will advocate for the boy’s OT consult. “Of course,” Muhlig says. “It would stink if he had to wait a while for another appointment.”

9:30 a.m.

Visits a vivacious 3-year-old boy who is in for IV antibiotics. A one-on-one patient sitter is next to him to make sure he stays in bed and doesn’t pull out his IV. The boy is a charmer: “Have a nice day, ladies,” he chirps as Suzanne leaves.

10 a.m.

Moves up to 8 South and participates in a family meeting for a 21-month-old girl who uses a feeding tube and a machine for supplemental oxygen. After 24 days in the Hospital, she’s a day away from discharge. Also in the room are the unit case manager and social worker, the child’s physician, a representative from a home nursing company, and her father. Everyone agrees to the plan, which has the father providing overnight care on the unit to show he’s prepared.

11 a.m.

Sees a family in the hallway with a language interpreter who speaks Cantonese. Uses the opportunity to discuss the plan to discharge their 3-year-old boy once in-home nursing care is arranged.

11:25 a.m.

Picks up a rice bowl with chicken in the Main Food Court.

11:55 a.m.

Munches on her lunch while listening to a conference call for all of CHOP’s care coordinators.

1:05 p.m.

Back to the Progressive Care Unit to check on the 2-year-old and talk with his grandmother about his discharge and follow-up appointment with his Karabots primary care physician. “We hope he’s discharged,” grandma says, “but we don’t want to get our hopes up.” As Suzanne leaves, the nurse confirms OT will be coming today to his room.

2:20 p.m.

Drives to the Karabots Center, where she explains the day’s developments to each patient’s care coordinator, adds notes to their records and updates her data, including tracking which children have been readmitted within 30 days of discharge — a key metric.

5:30 p.m.

Meets her husband, Tyler, at a local restaurant for a quick dinner. Has to get home in time for “Jeopardy!”, her guilty pleasure, and to be walked again by Tucker.

10 p.m.


What is a care coordinator?

A care coordinator advocates for complex patients while they’re in the Hospital and eases the transition after discharge. Several care coordinators are funded by philanthropy, making it possible for CHOP to provide the best patient and family experience.