This story originally appeared on the IU Health website. To read it there, go to Health-at-Home Story.
Dawn Reynolds believes people recover faster when they’re at home— but this isn’t just an idle theory, she’s seen it work first-hand.
That's because she watched her 81-year-old mother, Nancy Johnson, heal at home after first spending a week at Indiana University Health North Hospital. And while she received great care at the hospital, Reynolds said getting home boosted the pace of her mom’s recovery.
That boost was made possible by the philanthropy-funded IU Health Hospital at Home Program—an initiative supported by IU Health Foundation’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund.
Launched during the height of the pandemic in 2020, Hospital at Home was initially designed to free up bed space in IU Health facilities by sending patients with COVID home to recover.
But because the program was so successful, it expanded to include those recovering from chronic heart failure and infections—and in Johnson’s case, pneumonia.
When Reynolds took her mom home, she packed their car with equipment supplied by IU Health to measure Johnson’s vital signs—a blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter and thermometer. They were also sent home with a tablet computer which enabled them to easily share that information with hospital staff.
While Johnson initially had some challenges mastering the devices, the Hospital at Home team helped her learn the technology.
“They were so patient with her,” recalled Reynolds. “They even helped me, and my brother and sister get up to speed with the equipment.”
In addition to providing care for her mother, Reynolds said the program gave her and her siblings comfort because, while they all live within driving distance of their mom’s Westfield home, jobs and other challenges made it difficult for them to continually monitor her health.
“It was just great peace of mind,” Reynolds says. “We knew she had the ability to contact her care team immediately if she needed them and we weren’t there.”
Because anyone can qualify for the Hospital at Home Program, regardless of their ability to pay, it helps patients of every socioeconomic class thrive, and because it is not covered by insurance, the program has required the support of IU Health Foundation donors.
Reynolds sees the value in that support.
Because now, her mom is her old self, and Reynolds believes that’s due in part to her being able to heal in her own home.
“I say, kudos that you can get people home sooner,” Reynolds said. “It just helps being in your own surroundings and sleeping in your own bed.”