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SSM Health Medical Minute – New Step Down Unit opens at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital in Lake St. Louis

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LAKE ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The newly renovated 14-bed Step-Down Unit at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital in Lake St. Louis opened just a few weeks ago.

The new unit is equipped for a transition from intensive to inpatient care and address higher acuity overflow. The Step-Down Unit helps address the care needs of patients who fall between the needs of intensive care and inpatient care. By staffing these rooms at higher ratios than traditional inpatient rooms, patients are provided with a safer recovery and transition and caregivers have a better workload in both the inpatient and critical care settings. The staff-driven initiative gives post-op, surgical, and cardiac patients and many other patients a better nurse to patient ratio.

Each patient is monitored 24/7 to assess their needs and all rooms are staffed with specially trained nurses for the Step-Down Unit.

“We’re finding all across the country that patients are becoming sicker. I think it’s because we’re able to treat diseases longer before that were less curable," said Matt LaLiberte, vice president of nursing at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital in Lake St. Louis. "So people are developing more diseases and living with them longer so they have a lot more sickness, so that really strains the regular patient care units. So when those sick patients are on that unit, they really draw all the resources in that room to keep them safe, but they are not quite sick enough for the ICU, so we needed something in-between so that nurses could provide the right level of care.”

The new Step-Down Unit has six beds, video cameras to watch the patients, and a 3:1 patient to nurse ratio.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Wednesday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.​

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