Virtua Health launches ‘Hospital at Home’ program to treat some COVID patients

New Jersey’s hospitalization rate from COVID-19 appears to be dropping. State officials say that just over 4,800 people are hospitalized for COVID-19 right now. Last week that number was at nearly 6,100.
And one South Jersey health care system is trying something new in an effort to free up hospital beds – bringing the hospital to your home. Virtua Health has launched the “Hospital at Home” program that allows patients to spend less time in the hospital and more time recovering at home – all while receiving the same level of care.
The hospital launched the program this week ahead of its planned start date due to a surge in COVID patients. They say that COVID patients are the perfect candidates for the program.
“They’re in the hospital for one or two days and they’ve stabilized and are requiring less complex care. But they still need the medication for a few more days. So, we transition them into the home to receive that care in their homes,” says Kristin Bloom, AVP of Virtua Health Hospital at Home.
A patient must meet certain criteria to qualify. Then they are discharged and sent home with a tablet, pulse oximeter and blood pressure cuff. This enables them to have a team of Virtua staff at their fingertips 24/7, with visits from nurses and paramedics twice daily.
"There's two in-person clinician visits required a day and there's also a tele-visit and tele-evaluation by a physician remotely,” says Bloom.
The Hospital at Home hub is also staffed around the clock to answer any calls from patients. Virtua hopes the program will help make a difference in the hospital.
"This is huge in our ability to decompress our hospitals. We are taking patients who still require patient care, inpatient, but we’re able to provide that care in their home and for patients who have more complex care needs, we’re freeing up space in the hospitals for them to be admitted,” says Bloom.
Virtua says one patient is currently enrolled in the program. There are also plans to use it in the future for other illnesses such as COPD, pneumonia, and cellulitis.