Introducing UH Hospital at Home

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Bringing the inpatient hospital care home: delivering world-class care and compassion to our patients where they live

UH Clinical Update | May/June 2021

One of the most noticeable learning lessons during the COVID-19 was that you don't have to leave home in order to maintain your normal daily life. Running low on paper towels or pasta? No problem, order groceries online and have them delivered. Craving food from your favorite local restaurant? They'll bring it to you. Want to meet up with friends in a socially distant way? Hello, Zoom. But what about health care? Specifically, what about chronic diseases that often require in-hospital care? Why can't we have those services in the comfort of our own home?

Introducing UH Hospital@Home, a comprehensive care program for patients who have a need for an inpatient stay and have a diagnosis of COVID-19, COPD, community-acquired pneumonia and/or cellulitis. In the future, we hope to expand this program to be able to care for patients with other medical and even some surgical diagnoses. This inpatient hospital care at home program, the first of its kind in Northeast Ohio, goes beyond traditional Home Care, which has historically cared for our patients post-hospitalization.

During the early days of the pandemic, we introduced UHRemote, a remote patient monitoring system that allows us to keep tabs on COVID-19 patients' heart rate and blood oxygenation levels. A team of nurses, each with multiple screens, watched dashboards of patient data and received alerts from wearable devices if a patient's numbers were too high or too low. We learned much from the over 2,200 patients we cared for over the past year, and often heard how grateful they were to NOT have to be isolated from family alone in the hospital. We combined the experiences from UHRemote with the decades of experience of our Home Health teams, added in a few more services, and UH Hospital@Home was born.

UH Hospital@Home brings the hospital to the patient, encompassing a broad range of medical services and disciplines, including social work, nutrition, nursing, occupational / physical / speech therapists, pharmacists, home health aides, paramedics and providers. This team is led by nursing who orchestrates everything: daily in-person visits with a paramedic from our EMS Institute, daily visits (either in-home or virtual) visits by a provider, daily visits (either in-home or virtual) visits by a registered nurse and 24x7 access to the UH Hospital@Home Care team. The teams deliver meals, medication (including oxygen, prescription medication and infusions), laboratory, radiology, and other services as needed. We have even included family members that live outside the state to the patient's virtual visits.

“By caring for someone in their home, we can really take an inventory of everything that patient might need. With their permission, we can look in their medicine cabinet to ensure they have the correct medications on hand, and verify that they remembered to tell us everything they are taking," says Melissa Cole, VP of Integrated Delivery Operations.

So far, we have treated three patients in the first few weeks of the program, which has been quite a success. Having that firsthand knowledge of patient needs and understanding their environment is critical to keeping them safe and helping them get better. “Bringing the full power of UH care to patients in their own home, care is safer for them and promotes a healing environment because they are comfortable in their own home and do not worry about what will happen to their care when they leave the hospital. We are with them every step of the way."

This program is approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and has been submitted to other insurance providers for consideration. Stay tuned for future stories and patient testimonials from UH Hospital@Home patients; here is what one daughter of a patient had to say:

 

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