“There’s no place like home.” This famed Wizard of Oz adage rings true when talking about healing. Research shows that the best place for many patients to heal and receive care is at home. It allows patients to rest in their own bed, eat their own food, have everyday caretakers and loved ones present, and avoid the anxiety of an acute care setting.
At Island Health in British Columbia, we saw an opportunity to enhance our patients’ experience, while also reducing the burden on our hospital resources and facilities. With the financial support of the British Columbia government, we were able to launch an innovative model of care that allows acute care patients to be cared for in the comfort of their own home.
Initially piloted by Island Health’s Victoria General Hospital and Royal Jubilee Hospital, the new Hospital at Home (HaH) program enables patients to receive safe, effective care virtually or in-person from their hospital physician, nurse, dietician, clinical pharmacists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation assistants and other healthcare providers. An important part of the program, which was co-designed by patients, is a virtual call bell that enables patients at home to press a button on a wireless device to contact a member of their care team. Effective communication is essential. Hospital at Home clinicians use the Vocera smartphone application to communicate and collaborate securely with each other at the hospital and at a patient’s home.
While similar programs have been launched in Australia, New Zealand and Spain, this project is one of the first of its kind in Canada and has proved successful. Read more about what we learned worked, and what we need to do to improve the Hospital at Home program in this Canadian Healthcare Technology article linked here.