Cone Health’s Hospital to Home program keeps patients out of the ER

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — A new initiative at Cone Health is keeping COVID-19 patients at home and out of the emergency room.

The Hospital to Home program is offering new flexibilities during the pandemic.

“It is so nice to be at home, to sleep in your bed and rest, rather than having to use up the resources at the hospital,” said Susan Sherrill, a patient in the program.

Cone Health is now bringing the care directly to COVID-19 patients under the right circumstances.

“It really is meant to meet people where they are in their home and to meet the needs of what those patients want and need reassurance about,” said Dr. Valerie Leschber, the hospital’s chief medical information officer.

Sherrill is one of 20 people currently receiving outpatient care through the pilot program.

“I just kept saying, ‘Are you sure you should be talking to me, because I’m really not that sick. There’s got to be someone else that you need to be talking to,’ and the nurse said, ‘You need to stop saying that, you are the perfect person to be talking to because right now we can keep you from getting too sick, so that you don’t have to go to the hospital,'” Sherrill said.

Overcrowding and staffing challenges brought on by the pandemic are pushing hospitals to the brink. This program can keep people in their homes that really don’t need to be in the ER.

“If we can help patients stay home to be more closely monitored prior to seeking care for just reassurance evaluation in the emergency room that’s one area that we know we can intervene,” Leschber said.

Leschber says at a minimum, nurses are expected to monitor patients for improvement or decline once a day and are also available by phone 24/7.

A high level of service from the comfort of your home.

“They’re wonderful. I felt very comfortable talking to them. Coming from a clinical perspective even I could tell they know what they were talking about and I completely trusted them,” Sherrill said.

Cone Health says with staffing they anticipate capping the program at 65 patients. People are either referred through their primary care physician or ER doctor if they are deemed stable enough to return home.

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