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Karen Mauro and Jim Espinosa in The Cove Bistro at The Covington

Innovative Post-HospitalCare at The Covington, an ECS Senior Community in Aliso Viejo

Hospital care has evolved dramatically in the past 30 years, but until recently, post-hospital care has remained the same.

A generation ago, people would be discharged from a long stay in the hospital and be sent to a skilled nursing facility where the average stay was 30 days.
These locations could feel institutional and impersonal in their care, and those recovering would often share rooms with strangers.

“This model was driven by the Medicare reimbursement program,” says Krista Nay, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Episcopal Communities and Services (ECS).

Procedures, such as hip or knee replacements are not as invasive as they used to be, so residents may be released from the hospital after just two or three days. While most would rather be in familiar surroundings, their spouse or partner may not be capable of providing them with the support they need. Simply put, they aren’t ready to go home just yet.

One of the first multi-level care communities in California to adopt a new model of post-hospital care is The Covington, a secure, gated retirement community in Aliso Viejo.

“We are thrilled to be ahead of the curve,” says Cash Benton, Executive Director of The Covington. In April 2023, The Covington proudly opened five Care Suites. These customized suites offer 24-hour nursing care and recovery care to residents returning from a stay in the hospital.

“We knew there was a need for short-term, round-the-clock access to support,” Cash says, “so we designed the Care Suites, specifically for those needing a place to recover before returning to their Covington homes.”

The Suites have a range of exceptional features. The beds can be adjusted to any height, and have specially selected, hypoallergenic mattresses designed for those who might be spending more time in bed. The bathrooms are freshly updated with extra-wide shower entrances. The living areas can accommodate both Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy sessions and have a lift chair for ease of use.

To allow for welcoming friends and family, there is a microwave, a full set of dishes and a fridge stocked with snacks. The in-suite dining room table allows residents to eat in their room if they choose, or they can dine with other residents in one of The Covington’s three restaurants. The 60-inch TVs allow residents to watch their favorite shows, follow exercise programs, communicate with family and more. “The suites are designed so residents can rehabilitate and recover in comfort,” Krista says.

In addition to the thoughtful amenities, each resident in a Care Suite has access to nursing care if and when needed and has a dedicated Team Member available at all hours. A nurse practitioner admits the resident to the Care Suite and follows up throughout their stay, so residents and their family are assured their care is consistent and monitored.

These new Care Suites are located in the same building as The Covington’s Assisted Living homes and are available to any resident of The Covington, with a minimum stay of five days. “We’ve adapted to what people want, and their expectations,” Krista says.

Licensed and certified therapists and medical personnel deliver comprehensive care for both short and long-term stays. With these Care Suites, residents get the support they need to return home as soon as possible.

When the resident is cleared to return home, individual treatment plans are customized to both abilities and goals. “A personalized Care Plan may last for a few months, or it could be a lifelong plan,” Cash says. Once the resident returns to their Covington home, they have access to one-on-one nursing care, or floor nursing, where visits are scheduled throughout the day to support the individual’s needs.

The Care Suite model means the person is now home, at The Covington, surrounded by friends and family, and is getting the additional support they need, tailored to their situation. There is also one point of contact for ongoing care, so they and their loved ones have the confidence and peace of mind that comes from professional, individualized attention and monitoring.

LifeLine magazine called The Covington’s approach “forward-thinking.” They added that “What Episcopal Communities and Services… is initiating at its Covington community is a good example of what such a new approach could look like.”

“We have done surveys with our residents who have stayed in our Care Suites,” Cash says. “We have had great feedback. Our residents appreciate the level of comfort and support they receive.”

Karen Mauro experienced the Care Suites first-hand, when her friend Jim Espinosa returned to The Covington from the hospital, following a procedure. “The experience has been great,” Karen says. “Jim has recuperated so well.” She noted how seamless the transition was in the Care Suites. “There were so many thoughtful touches,” she says. “All his clothes were in the Care Suite waiting for him.” The long tenure of the Team Members at The Covington supports the transition as well. “And all the staff are so wonderful. They know everyone’s name.”

Karen was struck by the warm, caring environment. “The atmosphere and quality of care give me such a sense of confidence. I’m thrilled that when I think about my future life, should I need it, the Care Suites are available for me,” she says.

“I’ve received calls from other facilities in the country,” Cash says. “They are interested in what we did and how we did it.”

The Covington offers a warm welcome to individuals and couples from all backgrounds, cultures, and faiths. Set on 12 leafy acres, with luxury amenities like a heated indoor pool, personalized health-and-wellness plans, koi pond, lush gardens and three dining venues to choose from, the residences deliver the choice, freedom, and flexibility all seniors deserve. Proudly nonprofit, The Covington is one of the exceptional ECS communities in Southern California.
Reach out for a personal tour today.

The Covington
3 Pursuit, Aliso Viejo
(949) 209-3829

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