5 Tips for Introducing Patients to Hospital at Home
Since the increased adoption of advanced healthcare programs in the home, hundreds of hospitals across the country have offered hospital-level care in the home to their patients. Despite this, many eligible patients still haven’t encountered this novel concept. When these patients are introduced to the hospital at home model, they often have many questions before deciding to return home to receive their care. Similarly, if you are new to this healthcare model and you’re learning more about high-acuity care in the home, you may share many of their questions.
In the hospital, Contessa has Recovery Care Coordinators (RCCs), registered nurses by background, working within the health care system and playing a specialized role in the enrollment process. While RCCs don’t deliver nursing care, their previous clinical experience is the perfect platform to ensure patient eligibility and create concierge experiences when introducing the program to patients.
To help answer common questions about this care model and help patients learn what to expect when receiving hospital-level care at home, we sat down with one of our rockstar RCCs to learn five key tips for introducing patients to hospital at home.
1. Do your due diligence before introducing patients to hospital at home
Taking the time to thoroughly review the patient’s chart before meeting allows you to help verify eligibility (including insurance coverage) and understand important questions to ask that relate to the patient’s situation when you meet with them. When meeting with the patient for the first time, it’s also very important to evaluate whether they have adequate support at home from friends, family or caregivers that can be there with them throughout their illness.
2. Lead with empathy
What is the perspective of the patient you are meeting with? Are they facing a life transition, where they are concerned about loss of optimum health and independence? Do they have negative connotations attached to the need for home health care? You can help relieve anxiety by reassuring the patient this program is a positive, as it provides them with another option, instead of something they must choose. It’s also helpful to explain that not everyone is eligible for hospital care at home, and it is a benefit under their insurance.
3. Establish credibility
Naturally, nurses carry credibility up front thanks to being a respected profession, but you can establish additional credibility by approaching patients with confidence and using familiar language such as “I’m a Recovery Care Coordinator from [insert your program name here].” Stating your role early on helps patients immediately feel more at ease. You can also use the following verbiage:
- “I have been in communication with your doctor (and social worker, case management, or other personnel they have been interacting with).”
- “This program means that you will receive the same services you would in the hospital, only at home instead.”
- “I’ve looked at the notes in your chart, and you meet criteria for this program.”
- “If you’re familiar with home health, this is similar but gives you more daily support.”
4. Address financial stressors
Once patients have been introduced to the hospital at home program, one of their very first concerns is often the financial aspect. It’s important to bring this up and reassure them that hospital-level care in the home is an insurance-covered benefit.
5. Explain the details and ask questions
Some common questions patients may ask before making a decision about receiving hospital-level care at home include:
- How long are the visits?
- Do I have a choice in timing of visits?
- What services can I receive at home?
- What if I have an emergency?
When answering these questions, it’s important to individualize your approach. Ask questions and get a feel for their understanding of what kind of medical care they will need at home. Emphasize that the program provides 24/7 support and as much as possible, care in their home can be customized to their needs.
You can also give control back to your patients by allowing them the time to ask as many questions as they need to feel comfortable, and remember that some patients may feel overwhelmed by extra details and information and need extra time to think about what they’ve learned. You can always return later to see if they have more questions before deciding.
With the right support, most patients choose hospital care at home
At Contessa, we’ve found that over 80% of eligible patients who are offered admission to our hospital-level care at home accept it. The approach discussed above is a reliable way to introduce patients to hospital at home and ensure they feel confident in their decision. As one patient shared, ““Everyone was very nice, and explained everything so that there were no grey areas. Clarity is very important for me, and they told me everything I needed to know.”