Tucked in the rural northeast corner of the state, Windham Hospital may seem far removed from Connecticut’s capital city but, in fact, our affiliation with Hartford HealthCare has never been more vibrant and evidenced than in the past fiscal year. As we focus on providing the right care at the right time for each patient, our vision has evolved to include tapping the strengths of the larger healthcare system to keep care local whenever possible. We believe that there are moments which encapsulate the essence quality healthcare, and work to create a good experience for each patient and family.

Expanding the ranks of caregivers

Because we keep a pulse on the healthcare needs of the people in the communities we serve, Windham was able to introduce a variety of new care providers and unveil key services this year to address those specific needs. We inked an important partnership with the Center for Bone and Joint Care Orthopedic Associates of Windham County to bring robotic hip and knee replacement surgery to the hospital so patients do not have to travel far for such help.

In addition, June saw the arrival of three new cardiology providers who started seeing patients in the Windham Hospital Family Health Center. “Their addition to our staff demonstrates that we are delivering on our promise to provide the best and most comprehensive cardiac care to our patients close to home,” says East Region President Bimal Patel.

Special attention for seniors

Windham’s connection with Hartford HealthCare was the driving force behind the opening of the Center for Healthy Aging at Windham in October 2016. The Center – a partnership between Windham, Hartford HealthCare at Home and Natchaug Hospital – includes a referral service, the Natchaug Older Adult Program for men and women over the age of 55 who struggle with mental health or substance abuse, and a GoodLife Fitness program offering onsite rehabilitation and individualized exercise programs for older adults.

“There are seniors who do need more intensive services like in-home care or other types of geriatric services, but I think there’s a large portion of our population who are active, engaged and looking for social outlets like employment and volunteering. We hope to help them connect to those opportunities as well,” says Joe Zuzel, Center for Healthy Aging resource coordinator.

Addressing community needs

Rural areas have been hard hit by the nation’s opioid epidemic but Windham Hospital this year gained an important tool to help overdose patients coming into our Emergency Department with the addition of trained recovery coaches.

Coordinated through Hartford HealthCare’s Behavioral Health Network, the program utilizes 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, Windham Emergency Department nurse manager.