A growing trend in health care is hospital care provided in a patient’s home. While home health care has been common for seniors, there is now a unique option in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan available for adults of all ages who require acute care and meet the necessary criteria. This option provides hospital-level services right in the comfort of the patient’s own home.
While some may wonder how effective hospital at home care can be, research shows impressive outcomes. In a study by The Commonwealth Fund, hospital at home programs that enable patients to receive acute care at home have proven effective in reducing complications while cutting the cost of care by 30 percent or more.
How does a patient choose the option?
To give a real-life example, JaMella Williams was one of the first patients who chose the ProMedica Acute Care at Home option. Ms. Williams was diagnosed with COVID-19, and she had uncontrollable headaches and high fever. At a hospital emergency department, she was offered a new choice, ProMedica Acute Care at Home.
She chose this option and was admitted to ProMedica Acute Care at Home. That meant she immediately got to go home and start receiving hospital-level care. She said, “If I could be in my normal surroundings at home and also receive the hospital care I needed, that seemed to be the best choice for me.”
How is the home prepared for this level of care?
Ms. William’s home was equipped with technology and resources, including a computer tablet, dedicated telephone, emergency response bracelet, backup power supply and more, to ensure she had a constant, 24/7 connection to the expert ProMedica Acute Care at Home team.
In addition to being able to access her doctors and nurses virtually, Ms. Williams received regular in-person visits and check-ups. She explained, “A nurse was constantly checking on me, and a nurse practitioner regularly came to the house for an assessment and was able to tell if I was making progress.”
What are the eligibility criteria?
ProMedica Acute Care at Home combines an extensive network of in-home providers with a sophisticated telehealth platform to deliver a seamless hospital experience directly in a patient’s home. Patients who meet eligibility criteria may be able to choose this option instead of traditional inpatient hospitalization.
Patients must meet criteria for inpatient care, home safety criteria and have a qualifying payer and plan.
In late 2020, ProMedica received waiver approval for ProMedica Acute Care at Home by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The approval allows ProMedica to provide the service as an option to a greater number of qualifying patients.
What are the qualifying diagnoses?
Qualifying diagnoses include:
- Heart failure.
- UTI/kidney infections.
- Cellulitis or wound infection.
- COPD or asthma exacerbation.
While the plans were in place for this model before the COVID-19 pandemic began, this option became even more appealing for some patients to remain in their homes for care during the height of the pandemic. This helped to decrease crowding in the hospital and allow the option for visitors in the patient’s home.
What are the main features of ProMedica Acute Care at Home?
Some of the features include:
- 24 hours a day, seven days a week access to a patient’s care team that will respond to medical needs in person, by video and/or telephone.
- Vital signs monitoring using a telehealth platform.
- In-home visits by health care professionals, such as community paramedics, registered nurses, nurse practitioners and physical and occupational therapists.
- Lab tests, mobile imaging like X-ray and ultrasound, and IV therapies performed in a patient’s home.
- Durable medical equipment like shower chairs, grab bars, oxygen and hospital beds.
- Collaboration with a patient’s primary care physician and/or specialists.
- A complete report of a patient’s care sent to their primary care physician.
What has been the reaction of patients and medical experts?
The at-home hospital option continues to grow and is now available to patients in 19 counties in Ohio and two counties in Michigan.
Patients report very high satisfaction and outcomes with ProMedica Acute Care at Home. Patients share how healing at home feels very tailored to their personal physical and emotional needs. Likewise, medical experts report how caring for patients in their homes is very rewarding as they get to know not only their patients but the patient’s family and even their pets.
Hopefully, you do not find yourself in an emergency room, but if you do, know that ProMedica Acute Care at Home is an option you can discuss with your care team. Ms. Williams advised, “Know your options and do what is best for you, but healing at home was a wonderful experience for me.”
Brian Perkins, MD, is the medical director for ProMedica Acute Care at Home.