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Local hospitals team up to provide Salt Lake's only long-term acute care facility

Published: Thursday, Sept. 8 2011 4:39 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Jerry Coggins's family felt he was sent to the long-term care facility to die, but four months later, he's nearly himself again.

The former University of Utah athlete and Weber High School football coach was suffering from pretty serious injuries related to his stomach cancer and was taken to the Promise Hospital of Salt Lake in May. Physicians had done everything they said they could do for the 67-year-old Ogden man. His wife was basically told to stop wasting time.

"He was in rough shape," Dixie Coggins said. "They had basically given him a death sentence."

But her husband's condition was about to turn around.

The expectations of the Promise staff were quite different from the previous stream of bad news she'd been getting. And the around-the-clock care he was getting from nurses and physical therapists ended up changing his life.

His 36-day-stay resulted in the removal of a potentially permanent tracheal tube and many other advances that have him walking around with two colostomy bags, and feeling much better altogether.

"As a football coach, I know how important it is to have a team," Jerry Coggins said Thursday. "I really believe in my hear that I wouldn't be here without the team at Promise Hospital."

And now the Promise staff has even more to offer, with the opening of a new facility within Intermountain Healthcare's LDS Hospital. The space at LDS is definitely an upgrade from Promise's old quarters, which was spread out on two floors at the nearby Salt Lake Regional Medical Center.

The long-term acute care hospital has been operating at full capacity, with about 35 patients, making the additional patient rooms and other new features a very welcome change, said Dawn Booth, director of quality and risk at Promise. Most patients stay an average of 25 days before they are discharged to an acute rehabilitation center, skilled nursing facility, assisted living center or home.

"We'd love to help as many people as we can to make a successful transition from hospital care and to get people as independent as they can be," she said. Booth is excited to now be able to offer patients a comfortable environment in addition to unprecedented care.

"Everything is bigger," she said, adding that there is ample space for supplies to be tucked away in cupboards and not out in the open, cluttering up hallways.

Promise staff will be moving patients to the newly renovated 4th floor at LDS — where there are 41 patient beds and 12 high-observation rooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology — as soon as next Wednesday.

"There are some beautiful touches here," said national Promise CEO Peter Baronoff. "A patient's family will really feel comfortable about having a family member here."

He said the move, which is in cooperation with a new partnership with Intermountain, was necessary to serve a growing market in Salt Lake City. The Promise Hospital is the only facility of its kind in the area and one of 15 nationwide.

E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com

Twitter: wendyleonards

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