How Northwell Health treated acutely ill COVID-19 patients at home

By Mackenzie Bean for Becker’s Hospital Review

Northwell Health rapidly developed a care program to treat more than 150 severely ill COVID-19 patients at home in response to the surge in COVID-19 cases in New York this spring, reports The New York Times.

The home care program relies on a team of specialists who use telehealth to monitor and assess patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 cases. Patients with severe symptoms or underlying health issues may also receive home visits from a nurse or have medical equipment sent to their house to allow providers to more closely monitor them outside the hospital. Pulmonologists regularly check in with patients through telehealth and any patient in respiratory distress is hospitalized.

The program also offers home care for discharged COVID-19 patients with lingering symptoms.

New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health treated 182 patients via its home care program between April 27 and June 1. Patients’ ages ranged from 24 to 100, and many had chronic health issues like diabetes or obesity. Most patients did not require hospitalization, according to Gita Lisker, MD, a critical care physician and lung specialist at Northwell.

The health system said it’s already discussing the program with physicians in Miami, where several hospitals have reached capacity amid a major surge in COVID-19 cases.

Northwell is also working to expand the program in case New York sees a similar rise in cases.

“If there is resurgence in New York, on a dime we can get this up and running in huge numbers, and other cities can do this, too,” Dr. Lisker told the Times. “It’s a win for the patient and a win for the health system.”

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