Staying safe and cared for in the comforts of home

For the last six months, most of us have been spending a lot more time at home, thanks to stay-at-home orders and the continued recommendations for safety to minimize COVID-19 exposure in the community. For some Penn Medicine clinicians, patients’ homes are where they’ve always worked—and their ranks have grown dramatically during this time.

Two medical workers in full PPE standing outside a medical transit van.

Indeed, when the pandemic hit the area, Penn Medicine at Home, which provides a variety of clinical care services in the home setting, saw their patient numbers skyrocket. But thanks to a solid infrastructure, a new program and technology, they hit the ground running. And, now that outpatient and elective care are back up and running, the growth of home care as a convenient option for many patients is likely to last, too.

While keeping patients safe—especially those battling life-threatening disease—was essential, an equally significant concern was ensuring the safety of Penn Medicine’s field clinicians. Unlike in hospitals, which were able to restrict visitors and implement careful isolation and cleaning procedures appropriate to each space, “we had no control over a patient’s home environment,” says Sandra Jost, chief nursing officer and associate executive director of Penn Medicine at Home. “When our clinicians go into a home, they’re typically only directly assessing the patient, but there are often many more people living there who enter and leave the home. And you didn’t always know who was COVID positive and who wasn’t. This pandemic has caused us to have to assess the home more comprehensively.”

This story is by Sally Sapega. Read more at Penn Medicine News.