Northwestern Medicine Expands Inpatient Liver Transplant Care to Suburban Hospital
Patients now have access to pre- and post-transplant inpatient care at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital
Now, patients will be able to access all the care they need without traveling into the city for anything other than the actual surgery.
Patients in suburban Chicago now have better access to world-class liver transplant care through a new department at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital. It is the first time Northwestern Medicine has extended inpatient transplant care beyond the city limits to address the needs of patients with liver disease.
“Physicians from Northwestern Memorial Hospital travel to 17 satellite clinics throughout the suburbs and downstate Illinois to treat thousands of patients with liver disease,” said Justin Boike, MD, a hepatologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “We knew from experience that it can be difficult for patients to travel to the many medical appointments that are required before and after a liver transplant.”
The expanded inpatient services will complement the advanced liver care that is already offered at outpatient Northwestern Medicine locations throughout the suburbs, said Ken Hedley, president at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital.
“Our hospital has always been recognized for providing high-quality care, and we’ve seen an increased demand for a higher level of inpatient liver disease treatment,” Hedley said. “Now, patients will be able to access all the care they need without traveling into the city for anything other than the actual surgery.”
More than 77 percent of patients who receive liver transplants at Northwestern Memorial Hospital come from ZIP codes outside of Chicago. About a quarter of them are hospitalized at the time of their liver transplants, but the vast majority require frequent outpatient visits for physician appointments and laboratory testing.
“Many patients who are waiting for liver transplants live unpredictable lives because of the seriousness of their disease,” said Sean Koppe, MD, network director of transplant hepatology at Northwestern Medicine. “By extending our inpatient services to the suburbs, we hope to keep patients closer to home while they wait for their lifesaving surgeries.”
The liver transplant team at Northwestern Memorial Hospital partnered closely with the team at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital to add the highly specialized care that is required for patients awaiting liver transplantation. In addition to expanded testing and screening capabilities, the team dedicated an inpatient nursing unit to patients with liver disease and an outpatient clinic was opened for physician appointments. Transplant hepatologists and transplant surgeons from Northwestern Memorial Hospital have joined the medical staff at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital to provide inpatient care to patients with liver disease.
“Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital is now providing the same level of inpatient transplant care that we have always offered in Chicago,” Dr. Boike said. “In the past, some of these patients already received care at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, but they were spread throughout the building based on the severity of their illnesses. Now, they will receive care on a dedicated nursing unit where the staff specializes in the treatment of patients with liver disease.”
In the past, hepatologists have been disappointed to hear patients have declined further treatment because they lack access to transportation or because they do not want to travel into the city for care.
“We hope that by bringing this care closer to home, patients will be diagnosed and treated earlier in the disease process and before they become very ill,” Koppe said. “We want our patients to spend more time with their families and friends and less time traveling for medical care.”
Physicians and staff members at both hospitals collaborated to ensure patients receive seamless care no matter which location they choose, said Satish Nadig, MD, PhD, chief of the division of abdominal organ transplantation and the director of the Northwestern Medicine Comprehensive Transplant Center.
“Our goal at Northwestern Medicine Transplant is to be patient-centric with every decision we make,” Dr. Nadig said. “To that end, expansion of our liver program to Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital allows us to provide our world-class transplant care closer to where our patients live and work.”
John Pandolfino, MD, chief of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said the expanded program is a result of the close relationships between patients and their physicians.
“For several years, our hepatologists have asked patients how we could better meet their needs as they deal with chronic liver disease,” Dr. Pandolfino said. “They told us they want to receive care at a hospital that provides trusted, high-quality services. It is our privilege and honor to partner with the team at Central DuPage Hospital to provide top-notch liver care to our patients.”
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