Home Health Service Companies Adapt to Support and Protect Patients and Staff in COVID-19 Response
May 13, 2020
Home health service companies are in the fight against COVID-19 by keeping at-risk patients safe at home. Within two weeks of the pandemic’s onset, Texas hospitals were discharging patients to free up beds in anticipation of an influx of severe cases of COVID-19.
Many patients were to receive hospital-like treatment at home, a role filled by home health service companies. “We found ourselves having a laser focus of needing to keep our patients outside of the hospitals as there was a need to make sure there were enough hospital beds for those patients on the front lines,” said Rodney Gray, CEO and founder of Wave Healthcare, a San Antonio-based provider of respiratory care and equipment for children from neonatal to 21 years old. “Keeping 300 kids on ventilators out of the hospital became very important.”
Almost two-thirds of Wave Healthcare’s 300 patients have “invasive” treatments like tracheostomy tubes that connect them to ventilation equipment. Such treatments require at least monthly visits and care by one of the company’s 14 respiratory care practitioners statewide. Protecting therapists, patients, caregivers, and the families that live with the children amidst the pandemic is paramount. “At-risk patients are really vulnerable in this situation, so we had to innovate and be more proactive instead of reactive,” said Adel Bougatef, M.D., Ph.D., an expert in pulmonary care who consults with Wave Healthcare. “We didn’t want complications.”
Demand for home healthcare services has risen as those with underlying health conditions and elderly patients stay home to lessen their risk of exposure to COVID-19. Home healthcare has also become a new front in the virus fight as providers care for COVID-19 patients who have been discharged from hospitals.