OHIO, USA — The future of healthcare is going back to the past. House calls are coming back and thanks to the pandemic, local hospitals got their programs off the ground and into people's homes.
When Janora Johnson developed what doctors believed was COVID-19, she was sent home from the ER. Her medical team at University Hospitals thought that was the safest place for her to be. She became the first patient of UH's "Care at Home" program that started in April.
"It was just like being in the hospital, every morning environmental services would come and clean and sanitize my home, a home health aid to help me with my personal care, the EMT came every day, like three to four times a day, the doctor actually came to my home" Janora said.
Since then, thirty patients have used the program.
"We truly are creating an inpatient hospitalization, delivering all aspects of care to the patients at the home," said Jodi Arth, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center systems operation manager for clinical delivery.
"Everything that happened in the hospital, actually happened at home," Janora said.
That includes x-rays, ultrasounds, IVs and even all meals.
"Anything that somebody would get in the hospital we are bringing it to them so whether that's equipment that they would utilize while in the hospital, we're also delivering that to the patients," Arth explained.
COVID meant visitor restrictions in the hospital, but not at home.
"That kind of helps you out, having people around when you're feeling down,"
The care is covered by insurance and patients are evaluated to determine if this type of care model would be best for their recovery.
A year before UH's program began, MetroHealth started "Hospital at Home." Within two hours of evaluation, a messenger brings a tablet and home monitoring equipment, such as a blood pressure cuff and pulse oximeter, plus a bag of food directly to the patient's house.
The patient then virtually talks to medical staff three times-a-day and their vital signs are automatically uploaded so the team can keep check. While this program is primarily virtual, Metro is considering expanding.
Patients tend to do better in familiar surroundings and it eases the stress of being away from the comforts and responsibilities of home. It's not for everyone, but it is becoming a vital and cost effective way for hospitals to save beds for the most critical while still taking care of those in need. Other hospitals have established house calls in the past, especially for geriatric patients, but now it's becoming an option for nearly everyone.
*Editor's Note: The video in the player above is from a previous report.