Mercy working to care for covid-19 patients in their homes

Joplin Area Coronavirus

JOPLIN, Mo. — The covid-19 outbreak here in the Four States, as well as nationwide, has caused hospital beds to be at a premium. But one Southwest Missouri facility has come up with a way to free up some of those beds, but still provide treatment for sick patients at the same time.

Ask anyone who’s trying to recover from covid-19, or any other significant illness where they’d prefer to recover, and most would chose the comfort of their own home. Mercy Hospital Joplin is now giving some of those covid-19 patients that option.

Dr. Tracy Godfrey M.D., President, Mercy Clinic Joplin, said, “Put quite a strain on the system’s in terms of bed capacity in the hospital so we are looking for alternate ways to be able to care for people and we are finding that we can actually care for people in the home, people that may need oxygen but not high levels and uh be able to monitor them.”

It’s through the Mercy Covid Care at Home Program. Once a day, a caregiver from Mercy checks in on covid-19 positive patient that has symptoms, but not serious enough to warrant placing them on a ventilator, to make sure their condition hasn’t worsened. That monitoring can come in the form of a text message, seeing them through telemedicine or an actual in home visit. If those patients do take a turn for the worse, and they require a higher level of care, Godfrey says they’ll be brought to the hospital for treatment.

The Mercy Covid Care at Home Program kicked off about a month ago, not just here in Joplin, but system wide.

Each patient is monitored daily by members of the the Mercy Virtual Care Team, which consists of hospital staff including nurses and doctors. Those that are able to stay at home to recover are allowed to, and those that take a turn for the worse will receive the level of care needed.

“And then help them to decide what is then the next best level of care and where they need to go, so whether that is going to one of our clinics or if they do indeed need to come to the hospital and then the virtual care team helps facilitate that.”

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