Advanced Care at Home Program Helps Knoxville Woman Heal After Surgery

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One evening in May 2023, west Knoxville resident Kathy Parlon experienced excruciating abdominal pain. “I have celiac disease, so until I was doubled over in pain, any symptoms I had were kind of like I ate something that disagreed with me — but worse,” she recalls.

She went to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center and was eventually admitted to the hospital with an infection in her abdomen tissue caused by an abscess that perforated and leaked. The infection was life-threatening, as it could have led to sepsis. Parlon needed emergency surgery and additional testing. After surgery, she qualified for a new program called Advanced Care at Home that allows patients with certain conditions to receive hospital-level care at home instead of at a facility.

Surgery at Fort Sanders Regional

Parlon’s surgery was performed by Sung Lee, MD, a colorectal surgeon at Fort Sanders Regional. He says his patient suffered from several comorbidities and needed a drain for her abscess. After further testing, Parlon was also diagnosed with diverticulitis.

Dr. Lee performed dual procedures called a colectomy and a colostomy. A colectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a diseased or damaged part of the colon. A colostomy is a surgical procedure that brings the side of the colon up to an opening in the abdomen so that a patient can use an ostomy bag.

Parlon stayed in the hospital for several days after surgery. Dr. Lee says, “Soon after the operation, Parlon was eating, drinking and walking. She was eligible to receive the rest of her care in her home.”

Parlon qualified for a program called Advanced Care at Home which allows patients with certain conditions to receive hospital-level care at home instead of at a facility. Thanks to this innovative program, she continued her IV medications, received 24/7 virtual monitoring and had visits several times a day from in-home practitioners.

Advanced Care at Home

With Advanced Care at Home, Covenant Health physicians and nurses can monitor patients in their homes from a virtual care command center that operates 24 hours a day. Before a patient enters the program, the virtual care team determines whether there are adequate home resources such as a stable residence, water and electricity, and an overall support system.

A team of healthcare professionals then 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. While the patient is receiving care and monitoring by nurses and doctors, couriers will deliver medications and pick up bloodwork.

Dr. Lee says, “After a major surgery, we wanted to make sure she felt good. She was a good candidate for this program since she needed a few more days on IV antibiotics. By healing at home, her loved ones could come visit her where it was more comfortable and convenient.”

Healing at Home

“I just so appreciate what a good team they are,” Parlon says about Advanced Care at home. “They have some really good people who are extremely qualified, and the nurse was on-call 24/7.”

She says, “Anyone who visited me, they explained everything and how it would work. When they first told me about the program, I didn’t quite understand, but once they got me home, I saw the set-up. You really are getting the same type of care, but have the privilege of wearing your own clothes and getting in your own bed.

“All the paramedics are well-educated and trained. I did a video conference daily with my doctor and the nurses. Morning or night, I could call anytime,” she says,, noting that the paramedics were on time for their appointments and treated her with compassion. “I did have to go back and forth to the hospital for tests and scans; they picked me up and brought me home each time and got me situated.”

Compassionate Care

Parlon would have spent many more days in the hospital if not for Advanced Care at Home. “I have a beautiful home that looks out over the lake. It was nice to be home and move around, and visit with family,” she says. Parlon calls the program “a godsend” and hopes to use it again if she ever needs additional care.

 For more information about Advanced Care at Home, visit

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Covenant Health

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Covenant Health is a community-owned, healthcare enterprise committed to providing the right care at the right time and place. Covenant Health is the area’s largest employer and has more than 11,000 compassionate caregivers, expert clinicians, and dedicated employees and volunteers.

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