COVID & heart failure patients can receive treatment in their homes in Orlando Health's new at home program
Orlando Health, on Thursday, will launch its Hospital Care at Home program allowing patients in need of acute care to be treated in the comfort of their homes.
The program would treat patients suffering from cellulitis, COPD, asthma, UTI, heart failure, COVID-19, pneumonia, and gastroenteritis.
"Orlando health wanted to be able to provide a different level of care for its patients and give them a different opportunity to be cared for other than the brick and mortar of the hospital," said Linda Fitzpatrick, the assistant vice president for advanced care at Orlando Health. "We'll have decreased infectious rates in their homes, decreased exposures. It is a healthier and happier place to be in order to heal.”
Hospital Care at Home came as a result of the federal initiative created during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to increase hospital capacity and maximize resources. In December, President Joe Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which provides an extension to Acute Hospital Care at Home despite the public health emergency planned to end in April.
Orlando Health's Hospital Care at Home program is the first in Orange County to be approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, according to the Centers database. It is the second in Central Florida, with Health First Cape Canaveral Hospital receiving approval for the program in 2021.
Dr. Raj Shah is the senior medical director of the Hospital Care at Home program. He said nurses will be able to monitor patient statuses at the hospital’s hub location using a patch that will stick to the patient's body and send nurses information on vitals.
“(We'll be able to measure) heart rate, respiration, temperature, and blood pressure. We’ll also do video conferencing from that location with the patient. We’ll have nurses going to the patient's home at least twice a day”, Shah said.
Patients will be able to communicate with the nursing staff or doctors using a hospital-provided tablet.
Melissa Pion, a 14-year registered nurse, recently accepted a job at Orlando Health specifically because of the Care at Home program. She'll be at the patient care hub and looking after five patients on her computer, where she can see all of her patients' vitals in one place versus having to go from room to room like in the typical hospital setting.
“Here we’re seeing everything all at the same time and it’s happening in real-time. (Where as) sometimes if I’m in a patient in one room, something might occur with a patient in the next room and I’m not seeing it. It’s literally being able to have an overview of everything” Pion said.
Pion is excited to be part of the program's start but said she wasn't too surprised to find out the hospital was starting Care at Home, due to the success of telehealth operations during the pandemic.
“Nobody wants to be sick. Nobody wants to go to the hospital. So to be able to have that option, so to be able to have that option to be home and have treatment, I think that’s the way healthcare is going. That’s the way we’ll be in the future,” she said.
Orlando Health said patients must live near the hospital or one of its ERs in order to qualify for Care at Home.