Geisinger Medical Center recognized for improving CF care programs

Pennsylvania center earns the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Quality Improvement Award

Andrea Lobo, PhD avatar

by Andrea Lobo, PhD |

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The pediatric and adult cystic fibrosis programs at Geisinger Medical Center have received an award from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) for their work in improving the care of people with cystic fibrosis (CF).

Given annually, the CFF’s Quality Improvement Award recognizes centers that work continuously to improve patient care. Geisinger center teams will be acknowledged as this year’s award recipient, and receive a plaque on Nov. 4 at the North American CF Conference, which will take place in Phoenix, Arizona.

“It is a tremendous honor for our program’s quality improvement work to be recognized by the CF Foundation,” Catherine Shoff, DO, director of the adult CF program and physician in pulmonary medicine, said in a press release. “This is a unique specialty we offer the community, and our CF program has evolved and continues to grow.”

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More resources are needed to address education concerns in CF

CF is caused by mutations in the CFTR gene that lead to the production of abnormally thick and sticky mucus that builds up in several organs, mainly the lungs, pancreas, liver, and intestines. This is responsible for most CF symptoms.

The disease’s complexity requires a team of doctors and other medical providers to manage the various aspects of patients’ treatment and care. Pulmonologists at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania,  are at the forefront of the latest available CF treatments, including new medications, respiratory therapy, nutritional therapy, exercise, among other options.

The CFF committee reviewed the center’s CF programs’ performance standards in the spring, to decide if they were eligible for the award.

The committee analyzed the team’s efforts to provide better care, particularly in how they identified points requiring improvement and implemented innovative strategies contributing to enhancing patient care processes and clinical outcomes. They also looked into how care teams involved patients and families in those efforts.

Specifically, some of the reviewed team’s work included improvements in sweat testing, a diagnostic method that measures the levels of chloride ions in a person’s sweat, which are abnormally high in people with CF.

CF-related diabetes, nutrition programs included

The evaluation also included processes used for screening and managing CF-related diabetes, which occurs in CF patients due to the sticky and thick mucus that builds up and damages the pancreas, leading to insufficient insulin production.

Moreover, nutrition initiatives used to increase patients’ body mass index (BMI) — a measure of body fat that takes into account a person’s weight and height — to recommended ranges, and the process of transition from children into adult care, also were considered.

Recently, the team responsible for adult lung transplants partnered with a local lung transplant program to develop a consistent process for lung transplant education and referral for CF patients with advanced lung disease.

Based on the evaluation process, both adult and pediatric CF programs were granted full accreditation, a designation that is reviewed every five years.