At Backus Hospital, we draw on the strengths being part of a larger healthcare system affords us to deliver the care our community deserves in convenient local settings.  We are focused on providing the right care at the right time for each patient. That can range from offering standard primary care and healthcare screenings in the supermarket or at area festivals to expanding our specialty services to match the needs of our patients and draw on the latest technology and clinical advancements. We believe that every moment matters in healthcare, and work to create a good experience for every patient and family.

Expanding the ranks of caregivers

Key to our mission at Backus is a vibrant relationship with our staff of employed and community physicians. Each year, we thoughtfully assess the needs of the hospital and our patients while recruiting new physicians.

One 2017 arrival -Akhilesh K. Jain, MD, RPVI, FACS, a vascular and endovascular surgeon – to Hartford HealthCare Medical Group Cardiology’s Norwich office was part of the expansion of the Heart and Vascular Institute at Backus. This meant vascular and endovascular surgery, interventional radiology and cardiology will be available right in this community for patients with various vascular conditions.

Keeping care local

Lung and esophageal cancer patients needing consultations – and often follow-up care, chemotherapy and radiation – for advanced surgical procedures can find those now through Backus with the addition of thoracic surgeon Mario Katigbak, MD, to the local team.

“Surgery is only a small part of cancer care,” he notes. “Patients can have their follow-up care, chemotherapy and radiation, scans and other tests done close to home where they are connected to their cancer team.”

Addressing community needs

Part of being responsible and responsive community healthcare providers is identifying and addressing the needs of people in our region. As the opioid crisis gripped the nation in 2017, for example, Backus drew on the expertise of Hartford HealthCare’s Behavioral Health Network (BHN) to begin offering the services of trained recovery coaches to help overdose patients in the Emergency Department.

Coaches are former substance abusers trained to help others begin the recovery journey. They are available to respond to overdose and other drug-related emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“With recovery coaches, these patients are hearing from people who have a background that gives them special authority and credibility – they have been there themselves,” says Meghan Hilliard, Emergency Department nurse manager at Windham Hospital, which also launched the program this year.

Training for surgery

Backus surgeons like Sergio Casillas, MD, and Claudette Faucher-Charles, APRN, urge many of their patients to approach impending surgery like an athletic event. They start training – eating better, exercising more, quitting smoking and cutting back on alcohol intake – so they are in the best possible shape for their procedure. This new model of care, called Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS), was introduced at Backus in 2017 to improve patient outcomes, decrease surgical trauma and improve pain control. ERAS impacts behavior before surgery and continues on the surgical units where patients are encouraged to get up and walk the night of surgery. As a result, they are usually discharged a day or two after surgery.

Keeping staff well

We practice what we preach here at Backus Hospital, offering a host of programs and services designed to keep our most valuable resource, our staff, in good health. In February, we proffered such connections to area employers when Hartford HealthCare’s Heart and Vascular Institute teamed with the American Heart Association for the inaugural Workplace Health Symposium.

The event included a keynote presentation by Dr. Paul Thompson, chief of cardiology and The Athletes’ Heart Program at Hartford Hospital, screenings and booths for local businesses and human resources offering  employee wellness programs.