Healthy at Home: Patient stories about Home Health Monitoring
Donna Kuzio, Home Health Monitoring Client, knows what it’s like to struggle with her health after a hospital discharge.
“When I came home from the hospital, I was absolutely terrified because I was by myself and very weak. I didn’t know how I was going to make it.”
The Vancouver Island resident and Home Health Monitoring patient was experiencing what are unfortunately very common emotions following a hospital discharge.
Gold River, BC, resident El Bottoms talks about the consequences of all that fear and uncertainty: “When things got scary, and you couldn’t breathe very well, and you didn’t really know what you were doing, you had to go to emergency.”
Scary for patients and costly to the system, reducing acute care use has long been a focus. In BC, Home Health Monitoring is one of the solutions.
House calls, 21st century style
Home Health Monitoring lets patients with chronic diseases like COPD and heart failure track their health at home while care teams monitor them regularly. That way they can intervene if biometric data or self-reported outcomes move out of a healthy range.
Home Health Monitoring is delivered by a variety of clinicians depending on the program; Community Paramedics like Chris Michel deliver the program in 99 rural and remote areas in BC
“In these places, going back to the hospital can mean a 100 km journey on a dangerous highway,” says Michel.
The goal of Home Health Monitoring is to engage and educate those most vulnerable to health emergencies.
And over seven years of pilots with thousands of patients, Home Health Monitoring has been enormously successful: better health outcomes and lower health system costs1.
“With Home Health Monitoring, I have not gone to emergency in over a year, and I’ve not been hospitalized in over three years,” says Barbara Garett of Vancouver Island.
Intervention to prevent emergencies is a huge benefit for patients, caregivers and the healthcare system. But the hard numbers only hint at the transformative power of this program. Let’s hear from patients to unpack the multiple benefits of Home Health Monitoring on their lives.
Watch this video to see how Home Health Monitoring (HHM) is changing patients’ lives.
“I think at a basic, human level, Home Health Monitoring is really alleviating patients’ fear and giving them comfort,” says CP Chris Michel.
Diane Wilkinson Cosnett of Kaslo, BC speaks fondly of her Home Health Monitoring clinicians: “When you’re living alone and you have a chronic illness, it’s just comforting to know that they will be here.”
Joy Gaze of Vancouver, BC, felt she could not have succeeded alone. With Home Health Monitoring, “someone else was looking after me, like a guardian angel.”
The knowledge that she would be speaking to a professional every day was “like a lifeline” for Donna Kuzio.
Home Health Monitoring patients are relieved and grateful that someone is taking care of them: this is patient care at its most essential. The benefits of the Home Health Monitoring technology and program only build on this foundation.
“After comfort, I think the next level of benefit is around the confidence that comes from knowing what to do,” says Chris Michel. “Home Health Monitoring clinicians not only show people how to monitor their health, we show them what they can do to better manage their condition.”
Donna Kuzio sees a strong connection between knowledge, confidence and recovery.
“What’s going to make you feel better is the confidence that the nurses instill in you. They made me feel I was important enough to take care of myself.”
The Home Health Monitoring clinician’s contribution is subtle: it combines training and information with coaching and empowerment. The message? You are not the victim of your disease; you are in control of your recovery.
El Bottoms describes it: “Anytime I talked with my clinician, she just made me feel so confident that I was doing the right thing.”
So the Home Health Monitoring program brings basic comfort, plus the empowerment that comes from learning and encouragement. Through this, patients become agents, doing the things that help them get better, instead of the things that keep them sick. Next thing is, they start to enjoy it!
“They’ve taught me that I have to take responsibility for the things that I should or should not do,” says Donna Kuzio. “I feel that I have more control over what’s happening.”
Responsibility and control and are part of the third benefit of Home Health Monitoring: engagement.
“When patients are able to see that a lot of their health is in their hands, I’ve seen them get pretty excited about the whole process of taking care of themselves, setting and reaching goals, and seeing progress,” says CP Chris Michel.
“It’s exciting,” says Joy Gaze. “Every day I’m watching my weight come down and my blood pressure steadying. It’s amazing!”
The journey from illness and fear to full engagement in their health is an exciting transformation that Chris Michel gets to see over and over in his work delivering the Home Health Monitoring program.
“Home Health Monitoring engages patients, and it’s that engagement that helps them stay healthy, long after they’ve finished the program.”
1 Source – Evaluation of the Home Health Monitoring Expansion Project, March 1, 2018, Island Health