From Staff Reports
Local patients with serious illnesses will be able to receive medical care at home through a new UNC Health initiative.
The Acute Care at Home program will offer hospital-level services at home to patients who would otherwise require inpatient hospitalization for serious illnesses such as heart failure and COPD, infections such as pneumonia and cellulitis and post-surgical hospitalizations, as well as for COVID-19.
Under the program, UNC Health physicians and nurses in a medical command center will monitor patients in their homes 24/7. Patients will have access to hospital-level medical services — ranging from IV therapies, oxygen treatments and lab tests to X-rays and ultrasound — without having to leave their homes.
A spokesperson for UNC Health said the decision to launch the at-home service was not triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic but “could offer another tool as our hospitals deal with the surge of patients.”
UNC Health plans to begin offering the Acute Care at Home Program no later than mid-2021 to patients of UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill and Raleigh’s UNC REX in the Triangle area. The health system plans to gradually extend the program to patients served by its other 10 hospitals across North Carolina, and is also evaluating opportunities to offer the service in partnership with other North Carolina hospitals.
“Acute Care at Home reflects UNC Health’s commitment to innovative care as we work to improve the health and well-being of all North Carolinians,” said UNC Health CEO Wesley Burks.
“Technology in enabling us to provide the right care to patients in a way that is safe and helps them recover where they are most comfortable. As Acute Care at Home availability expands across North Carolina through ongoing conversations with federal, state and commercial payers, we expect more and more patients will choose to receive high-acuity care at home.”