With a chronic disease that makes her susceptible to infections, Kristen McAllister spends more time in local hospitals than she’d like to. No matter how great the care is, there’s just no place like home.
“I think family alone helps people heal,” she says.
So, when Kristen learned that her medical needs met the criteria for her to receive hospital-level care through Covenant Health’s new Advanced Care at Home program, it was welcome news.
“I get to go home to the comfort of my bed and my couch,” Kristen says. “I get to be with my family and my dog and heal from home, where I always feel better.”
She signed on without hesitation. An ambulance picked Kristen up at the hospital and took her home, to the place she would be most comfortable healing.
A Home Base for Hospital Care
“When we got inside, there was basically a whole hospital set up,” Kristen says.
In addition to equipment like a blood pressure cuff and pulse oximeter that could send Kristen’s vital signs directly to a command center, a special phone had been set up for emergency calls.
“You could just pick up the receiver on the phone and you would immediately be connected,” says Kristen’s mom, Michele.
A quick click on a newly placed tablet provided a fast connection to assistance. Kristen was given a wristband equipped with a call button; it was connected to a remote machine in the kitchen so her mother could call the care team too.
From the IV pole to the back-up generator, every aspect of Kristen’s care had been thoughtfully put in place. Then she began to experience the heart of the program, which is the compassionate care of the medical staff assigned to each patient.
A New Kind of House Call
Patients receiving care through Advanced Care at Home have in-person visits from a nurse practitioner, visits from a community paramedic twice a day, and ongoing virtual appointments with a doctor and nurse.
“They coordinate with your primary care physician,” Michele says. “It was pretty seamless.”
For Kristen, an added benefit was bonding with her care team.
“They were basically in the living room four to six times a day and during the night,” Kristen says. “They learned my dog’s name and they would talk to my family members, and we would laugh and tell stories. I felt like I got a new family.”
Advanced Care at Home provides a connection between quality, skilled, clinical care in the hospital and the physical and emotional comfort of being in familiar surroundings with the support of loved ones.
“My 4-year-old nephew, who is a very big part of my life, wouldn’t be able to come and visit me in the hospital,” Kristen says. “At home, I can have anyone in my family there.”
Caring for the Caregiver
Kristen’s mom found comfort in the program, too.
“It was really helpful for me to be so involved with her care,” Michele says. “For the first few days after she’s released from a hospital, I’m a little on edge. I didn’t feel that at all this time.”
Kristen says it was helpful for both of her parents to be home, so they could take care of themselves too.
“Usually, my mom or my dad stays with me every night in a hospital, and they don’t get much sleep,” Kristen says. “This time they were at home, and they could get a good night’s sleep to have energy when they needed it.”
Kristen and Michele want more people to know about Advanced Care at Home through Covenant Health. The new option helps provide the right care in the right place, even when the right place is somewhere other than a hospital room.
“I just loved it,” Kristen said. “It was wonderful.”
Covenant Health provided content and quotes for this article.