Martha (name has been
changed) is 51 years old with a diagnosis of severe Congestive Heart Failure
(CHF), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and Diabetes.
Complications from these conditions had led to six hospitalizations within
the prior year, and in turn had considerably impacted Martha's daily life.
But Martha's situation changed for the better after being discharged and
referred to HomeCall for her home health care needs. She found a way to take
Martha's Case Manager, placed a HomMed monitoring system in Martha's home
right away. The monitor was set to go off at the same times throughout each
day, allowing Martha and HomeCall to track and trend her vital signs on a
daily basis. Seeing Martha's weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and blood
oxygen levels daily allowed Luann to catch exacerbations in Martha's
conditions much sooner. As a result, more complex complications could be
avoided by early intervention, which is exactly what happened. Martha was
now avoiding what was previously an inevitable result; a costly hospital
stay. "This machine has kept me out of the hospital. Prior to this, I was in
the hospital four to six times a year," says Martha.
The HomMed Monitoring
System was having another positive effect on Martha's life. By seeing how
her own choices were affecting her daily vital signs, the monitor was
motivating her to take a proactive stance on her own health. "The monitor
helps me keep up on my own health. It lets me know when I need to get in
touch with the doctor so that we can change things if need be," says Martha.
HomeCallís CHF Program Is Introduced
Although Martha had
avoided the hospital for several months, exacerbations of her CHF were still
happening routinely. This situation was not tolerable for HomeCall, and the
development of a solution had already been in the works. During May of 2005,
HomeCall introduced its CHF program aimed at unstable CHF patients and
"frequent flyers". Martha's condition definitely qualified her for the
Martha's doctor signed
on, the desired parameters were set, and the medication kit included in the
CHF program was placed in Martha's home. Now Luann could administer the
proper care to counter any undesired changes of Martha's vital signs much
quicker than before. Time is critical, with a matter of hours being the
difference between staying home and another visit to the hospital. Now, with
just a phone call from Luann, Martha could instantly take the medication
needed to impede an exacerbation and be closely monitored until the desired
effects are achieved. If needed, each step of the program could be
administered without delay. "All I have to do is get on the monitor and do
my vital signs and answer the questions and the nurses will call me and find
out what is going on or come over. They will also come late at night. I know
this first hand and the nurses take care of the problem," states Martha.
The CHF program also
took Martha's proactive stance towards her health a step further. Having the
medication kit in the home gave Martha a "hands on" approach to working with
the nurses in taking the timely and necessary actions for her health. The
kit represented another means of success over her CHF. "The CHF program
really empowers patients to take control of their own health," says Luann
Boettler. "It makes them a team player."
Effects of the CHF Program
Martha gained numerous
benefits from HomeCall's CHF program and her choice to take responsibility
for her own health. She avoided the hospital for thirteen months, even then
being admitted for reasons unrelated to her CHF. She has also lost 23 lbs.
since being on the program. Martha also enjoys feeling better and making
health-conscious choices. But the greatest benefit of all is having more
control of her life. The HomMed monitor and the CHF program motivated Martha
to take responsibility, showing her that lifestyle choices do directly
affect one's health. "In my opinion, the monitor has helped me stay out of
the hospital many a time. I think the monitor has helped me in the long
haul; it's a very good thing."