A “Win/Win” for Hospital-Level Care at Home

Patient Judy Mellinger and daughter Lori Barckhoff

Judy Mellinger is thankful for the expert and compassionate care she received through Covenant Health’s Advanced Care at Home program.

It was early November when Judy Mellinger, of Knoxville, began feeling the effects of COVID-19. The virus caused her to go into respiratory failure and she had to be taken to the emergency room at Parkwest Medical Center for treatment. After being assessed, she learned that she would be admitted to the hospital, however she would have to wait for a room to become available. The hospital staff suggested the Covenant Health Advanced Care at Home program to Judy and her daughter, Lori, who was with her mom in the emergency room.

While Judy and Lori were initially hesitant because they were unfamiliar with this service. As it turns out, the Covenant Health Advanced Care at Home program was “just what the doctor ordered.” After the option was presented, and doctors determined Judy was eligible for this service, Judy and Lori said “something clicked.”

“With mom at home, I could take care of the dogs and sleep in my own bed without worrying about her being alone at the hospital,” said Lori. “We have other family in town, but we didn’t want to expose them to COVID either.”

Advanced Care at Home
With Advanced Care at Home, Covenant Health physicians and nurses can monitor patients in their homes from a clinically integrated, virtual care command center that operates 24 hours a day. In addition to remote care that leverages the technology and infrastructure at Covenant Health’s operations center, in-person services will be delivered via home visits from qualified medical professionals.

Tanya Rankin, RN, was the command center nurse on shift and helped take care of Judy. “I remember Ms. Judy, a lovely 81-year-old and her daughter, Lori. When we got her home, they were both pleased with the program and were highly complimentary of the service. She was able to complete her treatment and was discharged. This program allowed her to be at home instead of at the hospital for the duration of her medication and treatment.”

A team of healthcare professionals sets up an at-home technology kit along with any medical supplies needed. This is arranged with the patient’s caregiver and completed before the patient arrives home from the hospital.

Judy went home to receive IV medications and oxygen. In-home practitioners visited several times per day to check her vitals.

Compassionate Care
“I have never had a more compassionate group of people care for me the way they did,” Judy says. “By the time I was transported home, everything was set up. They showed me how to use the various pieces of equipment, and they were organized, knowledgeable and very kind.”

Judy was thrilled to go home and receive medical treatment under the safety of the program. “Everything was monitored. Every time I weighed myself or took my oxygen level, they knew about it. If I pushed the button on the tablet, someone showed up immediately. I also had an emergency bracelet to wear. I accidently pushed it and immediately someone contacted me via the intercom system in my home. I felt safe knowing that I would have immediate care if needed.”

Judy was relieved to be able to rest at home with her daughter and her dogs, Bella and Oscar.

“At first when they explained it to us, we were skeptical,” Lori says. “We had both been sick, so the house was not tidy. Those things didn’t make any difference and the care team said that healing my mom was the focus. They said, “We’re coming to take care of you,” and they did.”

Judy and Lori are so glad they had this option. “Everything was on time, like clockwork. They brought food, came for visits, if they said it would be 2 p.m., it was 2 p.m. There was never a delay to wait on anything.”

“It was a win/win because I could be here for her, but also stay home and recoup myself and take care of the dogs,” said Lori. “It was a hard concept to explain but now that I’ve experienced it, I would recommend it to anyone!”

For more information, visit CovenantHealth.com/ACH.

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