Blessing’s Hospital from Home program offers inpatient-level care to people in their own home

Professional doctor giving a consultation online

After participating in a two-year research study, Blessing is now one of only 350 hospitals in the country – one of five in Illinois and the only one in the region - with the federal approval required to offer the Hospital from Home program. | Photo courtesy of Blessing Health System

QUINCY — More people in need of inpatient hospital care for a non-behavioral condition are now eligible to receive that level of care in their home from Blessing Hospital.

Blessing was one of three hospitals across the country that participated in a two-year research study focusing on the possibility of offering hospital-level care in the home of rural patients. The research study has ended, and Blessing is now one of only 350 hospitals in the country – one of five in Illinois and the only one in the region – with the federal approval required to offer the program.

Blessing’s Hospital from Home program is available to people whose medical condition and treatment needs qualify for hospital level care in the home, who live in Illinois or Missouri within 60 minutes of Blessing Hospital, and who are covered by Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, the only insurers paying for this type of care currently.

Dr. Mary Frances Barthel, chief quality and safety officer for Blessing Health, leads the Hospital from Home program. It treated 50 patients during the research phase of the project.

“Patients love the program because they can sleep in their own bed, eat their own food and follow their own schedule — not the hospital’s schedule,” Barthel said in a press release. “Family members love the program because they don’t have to go back and forth to the hospital and staff are accessible to them.”

How Blessing Hospital from Home works

The patient’s doctor or other medical professional involved in their care determines that inpatient care is needed and if that care could be delivered in the home. If it could, a call is placed to a hospital from a Home team member to evaluate the patient and make the final decision.

Blessing Hospital from Home provides the medical equipment needed for the patient’s care in addition to monitoring equipment that tracks their vital signs around the clock. The Blessing Hospital from Home nurse visits the patient twice a day. During the morning visit, the patient and nurse have a telemedicine visit with the patient’s doctor.

In addition to greater comfort and convenience for the patient and their family, Blessing’s Hospital from Home program will allow for more beds to be available within the hospital during times of high demand for care.

“The Hospital from Home project will serve as a catalyst for Blessing to be transformed into a rural health system of the future,” Dr. Barthel concluded.

From the patient point-of-view

Cathy Miller has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an illness that makes breathing difficult. It has caused her to be hospitalized often over the years. Recently, when Miller’s COPD flared up and she learned the care she needed could be delivered through Hospital from Home, the 60-year-old did not hesitate.

“I was ready,” Miller said.

In addition to being more comfortable in her own home, Miller felt a closer relationship with her Hospital from Home care team.

“You get more one-on-one care,” she said. “Not to say anything bad about the hospital, but there are so many patients there, and the nurses don’t have as much time as they do when they are coming into your home.”

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