Home monitoring program: A new kind of care during COVID

Follow-up from nurses key for those who don’t need hospitalization

Portrait of senior 78 year old woman at home on the phone.

As hospitalizations rise during the spread of the delta variant, COVID-19 patients who do not need to stay overnight in medical centers still need proper care and monitoring during the pandemic.

Sanford Health is proud to offer a home monitoring program for those patients and their families.

“We have an amazing group of nurses in a centralized location that not only enroll the patients in the home monitoring program for COVID-19, but also then follow up with them at least once a day, sometimes twice a day, to make sure that they’re doing okay,” said Erica DeBoer, chief nursing officer at Sanford Health.

‘Warm blanket’ of care

The home monitoring program allows COVID-19 nurses to check in on patients who do not need hospitalization, but on whom primary care providers would like to keep an eye.

“Not only are they reviewing the data that the patients have submitted, but they’re also calling to check on them to make sure that their symptoms haven’t worsened. So it’s really that wonderful warm blanket that we’re actually wrapping around those patients,” said DeBoer.

Home monitoring isn’t just a phone call from a nurse however. Sanford provides equipment to each patient to monitor their temperature and their oxygen saturation levels, both of which can flag for potential worsening of COVID-19 symptoms.

Other uses as well

At this time, Sanford is monitoring just under 80 patients in the program. Patients can be monitored for as few as three days, or as many as 15. And this program has benefits for other patients as well.

“We’re actually taking some of what we’re learning with COVID-19 home monitoring and applying that to some of our other chronic disease programs,” DeBoer said. “We have a host of different chronic disease management programs within Sanford, but what we’ve learned with COVID-19 is we can do it even more effectively and efficiently through our electronic medical record, as well as that centralized approach.”

Helping fight the surge

Home monitoring also has one added benefit during this latest COVID-19 surge as well.

“I think what’s really important for everyone to know is that outside of the COVID pandemic, there’s a lot of other people that are seeking care in our medical centers. So it’s important that it’s the right people that are in our hospitals, getting the care that they need for those emergencies like trauma, heart attacks, strokes, etc. It’s important that we make room and have capacity to care for those emergency situations.”

Information in this story was accurate when it was posted. As the COVID-19 pandemic changes, scientific understanding and guidelines may have changed since the original publication date.

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Posted In Coronavirus, Rural Health

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