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In April 2020, when the impact of the pandemic began to hit home, IU Health had an idea to help patients recover… at home.
The Hospital at Home program had been in the works since 2019, but when COVID-19 created an immediate need, the population health team (with the support of home health and telehealth) sprung into action.
Thanks to generous contributions to the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, the new program is now able to identify admitted COVID-19 patients, and review their eligibility for admission to the Hospital At Home program. If they meet the requirements, they can return home, and receive their care where they feel most comfortable. The program provides medications, equipment and oxygen if needed, along with instructions for patients and caregivers on how to take vitals and report back to their care team.
In November, the program expanded to non-coronavirus patients, including those with chronic heart failure, infections and pneumonia. As the program expands statewide, continued philanthropic support for Hospital At Home is more important than ever.
Tori Bratcher, executive director of Population Health Operations, says more than 300 patients have gone through the program, and the response has been overwhelming. “Patients prefer it, because they want to receive their care where they’re the most comfortable, she says. “They want to be around caregivers and family members and right now that’s not possible since visitor restrictions are in place to protect the spread of the virus.”
The Hospital at Home program allows patients to have a caregiver with them. The program reduces costs while monitoring patients from afar and frees hospitals beds for additional complex cases.
Because the program does not receive insurance reimbursements, all patients, regardless of ability to pay, can qualify, including those on Medicare, Medicaid and the uninsured. This means even more support is needed for the program to expand to smaller, critical access hospitals. Philanthropic gifts will help to provide Wi-Fi and enabled devices to help patients secure communications with their IU Health care team.