As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter our lives, we must consider how to modify existing protocols to adjust to a new way of living. Considering a pandemic of this potential magnitude, an individual would generally be hospitalized until they were deemed ready to go home. With the forecasting of many citizens contracting the disease, however, what if there was an alternative to hospitalization? There is—it is home care.
Though cost savings is often the reason given for choosing home care over hospitalization, there are other considerations. In an article published by The Commonwealth Fund, the author states:
Hospital at home programs that enable patients to receive hospital-level care in the comfort of their homes have flourished in countries with single-payer health systems, but their use in the U.S. has been limited—despite compelling evidence that well-monitored, at-home treatment can be safer, cheaper, and more effective than traditional hospital care, especially for patients who are vulnerable to hospital-acquired infections and other complications of inpatient care.
Instituting this type of substitution in the U.S. could produce dramatic savings for the Medicare program and private payers, chiefly by eliminating the fixed costs associated with operating a brick-and-mortar hospital. Indeed, pilots of the model have already achieved savings of 30 percent and more per admission, while delivering equivalent outcomes and fewer complications than traditional hospital care.3 In addition to such savings, at-home care may also help avoid shortages of beds in U.S. hospitals.
Additionally, according to Jacqueline LaPointe of Revcycle Intelligence, a small controlled study conducted, and published in 2018, found that “Healthcare costs for an acute care episode were 52 percent lower when acutely ill patients received hospital care at home, rather than being placed in a hospital bed, according to a recent study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine”.
So, the home care option not only considers expense but also the potential of acquiring a new infection. All kinds of sick people inhabit hospitals (from mild to extreme), so patients who are already vulnerable run the risk of becoming sicker.
Using the home care option should be a top-of-mind consideration during this pandemic.
Although we are still learning about COVID-19, we do know that social distancing appears to slow the spread and helps to flatten the curve. Thus, there are arguments for the home care option:
- Significant cost savings
- Lowering the risk of being exposed to other illnesses
- Personalized care
- Emotional well being
- Increase in available hospital beds
- No shortage of equipment for medical personnel
At Total Care Connections, we have prepared extensively to tend to the needs of seniors who need more attention to live well. Our programs include assistance with symptom treatment and the monitoring of patient vital signs. We watch for clients having trouble breathing or persistent pain or pressure in their chests and act swiftly to address the issue. Total Care Connections also offers housekeeping and home disinfecting services to minimize the risk of exposure and contamination from items coming in from outside. This service also reduces stress as it takes a myriad of things off a patient’s “to-do” list. Whether it is light housekeeping, running errands, doing laundry, or restocking supplies, our team is there for you. We also realize how critical the connection to family and friends is during this time, so we assist patients with using technology to make video calls with family as needed.
Staying at home is a viable option for getting seniors better care. Still, families must discuss with their health care providers before making this decision. If you would like to learn more about how we can help your loved one stay safe from COVID-19 without sacrificing the quality of care, please contact us today.