November 15, 2023

Care at home: Giving patients what they want

Our Advanced Care at Home program provides high-quality, safe care in familiar, comfortable surroundings.

Patients in the program get round-the-clock care through remote monitoring and in-person and virtual visits.

Vickie Kinnee did not want to be admitted to the hospital. It was summer 2020, and she knew she needed treatment again for her congestive heart failure.

She was having trouble breathing.

“Even walking to the bathroom was a feat,” she said.

But the last thing she wanted to do was be in a strange place away from her family while she recovered. Kinnee is not alone.

A solution to a common problem

Most Americans would prefer to receive care in their own homes, according to recent studies.

Thanks to recent technological advancements, this is now an option for more people. Kaiser Permanente’s Advanced Care at Home program enables qualifying patients to receive care in their own homes, where they can recover with their loved ones and familiar routines.

“To be able to watch a TV show with my grandchild in his pajamas, to have him kiss me good night instead of being in a dark hospital room all by myself?” Kinnee remarked. “What’s better than that?”

How does Advanced Care at Home work?

Patients in the program receive high-quality, 24/7 care from the comfort of their homes. Kaiser Permanente’s remote care teams monitor patients’ vital signs. Nurse practitioners, nurses, and paramedics make scheduled visits to patients’ homes or visit on an as-needed basis to provide in-person care. They can perform many tests, such as blood tests, X-rays, and ultrasounds.

“Receiving care at home offers proven health benefits. For example, patients are less likely to get certain infections. Plus, they get the healing power of being around their family, friends, and pets,” said Vivian Reyes, MD, national physician leader for Kaiser Permanente’s Advanced Care at Home program. “Access to immediate care is available at a member’s fingertips.”

Patients may qualify for the program if they have heart failure, chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, diverticulitis, or pneumonia, among other conditions. Patients who are likely to need surgery at a moment’s notice are not good candidates. Currently, the program is available in some Kaiser Permanente service areas.

During Kinnee’s emergency room visit, her doctor told her that she was a prime candidate for the program. Kinnee didn’t need much convincing to participate.

“One of the worst things I could do for my recovery was to be away from home,” she said. “Plus, it was the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. I wasn’t going to take a hospital bed from someone who needed it more than I did.”

After she opted in, her Kaiser Permanente care team immediately got to work planning her virtual and in-person check-ins.

Fully prepared at home

Kinnee received a wireless touchscreen tablet and a blood pressure cuff. She also got a special mobile device to connect directly with her nurses.

Our medical technology team set everything up for Kinnee.

“I felt prepared as soon as I got home with everything I needed,” she said. “And the medical technology team was there to talk me through every step of the way and make sure I was comfortable.”

Kinnee saw medical professionals daily — either in person, on the tablet, or sometimes both — according to a set schedule.

“On my schedule, it would say when the nurses were calling me — usually in the morning — or when the paramedics would come to do a blood draw,” Kinnee said. “I felt very informed.”

A ‘pretty special’ connection

“When they came to check my vitals,” Kinnee recalled, “I felt so much more comfortable compared to being in a hospital room. It was one-on-one. To have that connection with a health care professional — that they’re caring about me and only me right now — that's pretty special.”

It wasn’t long before Kinnee regained her strength and was back to playing games with her grandson. She said her quick recovery was possible because of the Advanced Care at Home program.

“They went above and beyond,” she said of her care team. “I don’t think I’d be here today if it wasn’t for this program. I really believe it empowered me to get better.”

For more information, please visit Kaiser Permanente’s Advanced Care at Home program.