CEDAR RAPDIS, IA (Jan. 6, 2021) – Mercy Medical Center is offering a new at-home care program for patients with mild to low-risk COVID-19 symptoms who are diagnosed and discharged from Mercy’s Emergency Room. Mercy’s COVID at Home program – which was launched on Dec. 1, 2020 – combines telehealth technology, portable medical monitoring equipment, and a team of healthcare professionals to care for COVID-19 patients in the safety and comfort of their own homes.
As part of the COVID at Home program, patients discharged from one of Mercy’s ERs (at the main hospital or in Hiawatha) with mild to low-risk COVID-19 symptoms will take home a self-monitoring kit. The kit includes a pulse oximetry machine to monitor patients’ oxygen saturation levels, along with instructions and a self-monitoring worksheet. Additionally, each day, a registered nurse calls the patient to check on symptoms and provide education and support. The patient also receives a daily home visit from a registered nurse and/or a physician video visit to monitor their progress and provide medical management support.
“Providing this type of at-home care helps patients recover in the safety and comfort of their own home,” said Tawnya Salsbery, MSN, RN, Mercy senior director of post-acute and senior services. “We decided this program was very appropriate for the current environment, as hospitals try to maintain capacity for more severely ill COVID-19 patients, and many COVID-19 patients with milder symptoms prefer to stay in their own homes to recover. It’s really a win-win.”
Salsbery said the program had been very successful in its early stages; no patients have had to return to the ER for treatment and none have been admitted to the hospital.
Research on home care programs throughout the past 25 years shows patients tend to recover faster, have fewer complications and are more satisfied. Costs can also be lower, as well.
In November, government health programs Medicare and Medicaid helped pave the way for the enhancement of these types of programs, agreeing to provide more funding for at-home COVID-19 care.
For those interested in more information on Mercy’s COVID at Home program, please call 319-398-6203.