Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital and Arlington Fire Department have helped reduce emergency department or inpatient readmissions by 50-75 percent through a home visit program. Patients with complex medical issues are identified by clinical staff who may need a nurse, a social workers, or other medical care to help them manage their chronic illness.
Providers make home visits to Arlington patients who enroll in the program and are at risk of mismanaging their condition after leaving the hospital. They have 24/7 access to paramedics and are given a direct line for non-emergencies. The program has impacted frequent 911 callers and keep the lines and first responders available for actual emergencies.
Arlington Community Healthcare Program paramedics have received additional training to help them care for these patients and are assigned a Texas Health patient to provide care in the home. These paramedics are often the first point of contact with patients who frequently call 911, so the program provides a familiar face. They learn about their patient’s medications and condition, and educate them if changes need to be made to their treatment.
“Some patients are telling paramedics things they would never tell their doctors because it’s in the comfort of their own home,” said Lori Dachroeden, senior director of the program at Texas Health Arlington Memorial, via release. “This kind of communication allows us to anticipate some problems before they become serious or even life-threatening.”
The home visit can provide guidance on other social determinants of health. They can see living conditions, and if there are exacerbating circumstances such as three flights of stairs or poor diet that may impact the patient’s recovery. A similar program exists at Texas Health Plano with the Plano Fire Department and at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne and the Cleburne Fire Department.
“Patients can’t believe this is a free service,” Dachroeden said via release. “They’re learning to manage their health a lot better and this improves their quality of life.”