“I got better rest and I think the medication worked better too.” 

At the end of January, Virgina Mason Franciscan Health rolled out their brand-new Home Recovery Care program at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, WA. The innovative program, designed to bring eligible patients home for hospital-level care, is in partnership with Contessa’s Comprehensive Care at Home model of care delivery. 

When James went to the ER one Thursday with knee pain and redness, he had no idea he was about to be the very first patient at St. Joseph to be offered the program. 

“I was there a couple of years prior with the same problem,” he says. “So they gave me the same antibiotic and sent me home.” 

Unfortunately, by Monday James says the knee was worse. “I went back to the ER, and they booked me into the hospital with cellulitis. I was still ambulatory, but it was pretty painful.” 

An opportunity to recover at home 

After four days in the hospital, James was approached by his care team with a proposal. “They said, you look like a good candidate to send home for care,” James recalls. “And I said, ‘OK, you’ve got a volunteer!’” 

James was sent home with twice daily nursing visits and skilled management of his intravenous (IV) antibiotics. He was also given remote patient monitoring devices and a tablet for virtual physician visits. “It was great,” he says. “It’s nice to get out of the hospital and get back home. The sponge bath thing at the hospital gets old fast. Being at home, I could take a shower, so that was really nice. I was back in my own bed and not getting poked and prodded day and night.” 

He explains, “I got better rest and I think the medication worked better too. I was relaxed and not worrying as much about being in the hospital.” And he notes, “My wife says the best part of the program is that I was home.” 

He also shared that the technology he used at home and the virtual visits were a positive experience as well. “It was great. I got to actually see the doctor, and talk to him, and he took me through everything about my injury and saw how I was doing.” That time with the doctor, he says, gave him a level of attention that is difficult to achieve even with a primary care visit.  

A good outcome with care at home 

After four days in the program, the team helped him arrange follow-up care and he was discharged. James shared that he’s doing much better now and even made a successful shopping trip to a large store that required a lot of walking after he finished his care.  

As the first patient in VMFH’s Home Recovery Care program, James says, “I would absolutely recommend it. I would say ‘don’t be apprehensive about it.’” He also points out that the program doesn’t just benefit the patient that goes home: “What I like about it is that someone that really needs a hospital bed, you’re giving it to them. That’s a great idea. It worked great for me.” 

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