Ignite Medical Resorts
Recovery in the lap of luxury
Business View interviews representatives of Ignite Medical Resorts for our focus on Best Practices in U.S. Healthcare Facilities
With boutique amenities, on-site spa, private chefs, and concierge services, Ignite Medical Resorts is turning the traditional nursing home world on its head, offering a high-end retreat for rehabilitation.
Ignite was founded in 2018 and has seen rapid success and growth in three years, now operating 10 facilities in five states across the Midwest. Founders Tim Fields and Barry Carr set out to bring to life their vision of an “anti-nursing home,” where they could have skilled nursing and rehabilitation but make it a better experience for their guests.
“It’s not the standard nursing home that you see on TV, it’s really more of a luxury, Las Vegas-style resort option,” says Jared Carr, Managing Partner at Ignite. “It was this idea that we could do things better, we can be on the cutting edge and people will want to go to us for a few weeks, get better, and then go home. One of the first things I learned about this business was that people don’t want to be in a facility. But if they have to be, we want them to be in the most luxurious place possible. They’ve just been in the hospital, they’ve been sick, they’re probably in pain, and they’d rather be at home in their own bed. But if we can have comfortable beds and pain management and fun activities to do, then their lives are a little bit better.”
Ignite’s main business model is to offer short-term rehabilitation for guests coming out of hospital. A typical length of stay is anywhere from 10 to 21 days, however most of their sites do offer a small long-term care wing. “It’s very short-term. It’s very brief and hotel-like, which is why we are a medical resort as opposed to a home where you live,” says Carr. “Even with our long-term residents, we still operate with the highest standards of care and luxury and quality.”
Ignite combines state-of-the-art rehabilitation technology with the amenities of a high-end resort. Bedrooms are equipped with relaxation in mind, including 50-inch televisions and Volo in-room hospitality tablets that allow guests to access room service, book spa services, or request housekeeping.
Carr explains, “We provide a personalized experience, where someone can access an iPad in their room and say ‘I’d like more towels,’ or ‘I’d like a BLT for lunch,’ or ‘I’d like to watch a movie,’ or ‘I want to order Uber Eats,’ as long as it’s safe to do so. It’s a huge leap forward from where nursing facilities where 10 to 20 years ago.”
Meals are cooked by personal chefs and can be taken at the Fireside Grille, which offers both indoor and outdoor fireside seating. The on-site Glo-Spa offers guests manicures, pedicures, haircuts, and color, as well as massage therapy. Most of Ignite’s facilities include an outdoor therapy courtyard that can be utilized by guests as weather permits – a way for them to get their therapy in a non-traditional way.
“It’s almost like a Karate Kid-type therapy,” says Carr. “We have a gravel walkway, so you can walk on that area not realizing you’re walking on different surfaces, and you’re helping your balance. We have stairs that lead to nowhere, but if you’re going up the stairs to look at the flowers at the top then you’re actually practicing how many stairs you can climb. We also have a little garden because planting flowers is actually occupational therapy. It’s a nice way to not feel like you’re doing therapy and maybe notice less pain.”
On the more traditional therapy front, Ignite provides on-site intense clinical programming targeted to each guest, using the same technology that the U.S. Olympic team uses in its training. Everything they incorporate is state-of-the-art with a goal of helping guests and residents recover as soon as possible. “We’ve tried not to add technology just to say that we have technology,” says John McFarlane, Ignite’s Chief Clinical Officer. “We are trying to add things very carefully that we feel will help improve our residents’ and guests’ outcomes as they progress through rehab with us.”
One of the Resort’s biggest pieces of advanced technology is a contactless monitor called EarlySense, which is fitted underneath the guest’s mattress. Unlike older monitors used in nursing settings, EarlySense doesn’t emit an alarm to alert staff to guest distress. Instead, EarlySense monitors vital signs with the ability to pick up the person’s pulse and respiratory rates, as well as detecting motion and alerting nurses that guests with limited mobility need to be turned.
“It also works as a pager system, so there’s a monitor at all of our nurses’ desks and if the guest attempts to get out of bed, it will page and notify the monitor at the desk that the guest is attempting to get out of bed,” McFarlane says. “So that’s a way we can help prevent falls from occurring and ensure patient safety.”
Patients are monitored with access to doctors 24-7 thanks to a partnership with Third Eye Health. Third Eye offers round the clock telehealth service via iPad. “We call them and they can lay eyes on the patient, they have access to the medical chart, as well as Point Click Care in our medical system,” Carr says. “They can change orders, they can send people out to the hospital if necessary and see patients without actually putting themselves at risk for being near them.”
The telehealth service allows health providers to have face-to-face visits where they can speak to and offer education directly to the guests and their families. McFarlane acknowledges, “It’s a lot more effective in terms of treating in place. And that’s been evidenced by our overall rehospitalization rates if you look at pre-imposed initiation of this service. I like it because the nurses have a lifeline that they can go to very quickly, specifically during the nighttime and on the weekends when our normal providers aren’t in the building. It’s really been standard for us during COVID, too.”
Ignite has been going strong, continuing to offer guests a safe space to recover all throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. “Even though everyone was afraid of COVID and the whole world was shutting down, the people that were getting sick needed a place to go,” says Carr. “We had to be that lighthouse on the shore for wayward people who didn’t know where to go – they were sick and couldn’t go home.”
Ignite even took in COVID patients, setting up COVID units at their facilities to help people to recover from the gruelling virus. McFarlane shares, “I think it speaks to our owners’ character in the sense that there were a lot of other nursing facilities that chose not to do that. We felt like we had a duty to do so and we feel we were largely successful with the majority of COVID-19 patients that we took care of.”
Carr credits Ignite’s tremendous success to their 1000-plus team of dedicated staff. He states, “Our staff that have chosen to come to Ignite, and that we’ve chosen to hire, have been absolute saints through all of this. They have been so supportive coming to work, and working more, and we’ve been seeing the benefits and healthier patients.”
To help recognize their team’s hard work, Ignite created its Superhero in Scrubs program. The program rewards staff for their exemplary performances with Ignite swag, cash bonuses, extra personal time off, and gift cards. “It’s a really fun carrot for rewarding great performance and some of our staff that go above and beyond in terms of perfect attendance and things like that,” McFarlane explains. “As an organization, we give a lot of attention and focus to our employees and making sure they are satisfied. We are so humbled and proud of our direct-line staff. We as a company have always tried to be cognizant and remind each other that the staff are the reason that we are successful overall.”
As they look into the future, Carr and McFarlane hope Ignite can continue on its path of growth, while also providing great clinical outcomes for their guests. Carr concludes, “At the end of the day, the more people that we can effectively take care of and send home happy and healthy, the happier we are.”
AT A GLANCE
Ignite Medical Resorts
What: Luxury short-term rehabilitation centers
Where: Ten facilities located across the Midwestern United States
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