A traumatic brain injury in 2011 left Landon Walker needing care at home. Thanks to an innovative Hospitalist at Home program now offered by Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, he and his family are getting the care they need without leaving his house. “Our family is so grateful to be involved with this program,” says Tracie Walker, Landon’s mother. “The care the team has shown to Landon and to our whole family is so special and has allowed Landon to spend more time at home with his loved ones instead of in the hospital.”
The Walkers have become very close with the members of the Hospitalist at Home team who conduct home visits for Landon, now 27, a former standout football player at East Wilkes High School who suffered injuries during an ATV accident. He is among the more than 500 patients throughout the Triad region who were served during the program’s first six months after its launch in December 2020.
The program has also reached patients through virtual visits in 10 other counties across North Carolina. This unique approach combines telehealth technology with in-home visits by Wake Forest Baptist paramedics and allows patients to be safely cared for at home, reducing the length of time they spend in the hospital.
“In the past six months, we have heard so many stories from our patients and their families who are grateful that they can receive convenient and high-quality care in their own homes, regardless of where they live,” says Chi-Cheng Huang, MD, executive medical director of general medicine and the hospital medicine service line with Wake Forest Baptist.
The program is modeled after a similar and very successful program operated by Atrium Health in the Charlotte region that has gained national recognition for its innovation.
Patients who are identified as candidates for the program first discuss the potential benefits with their health care team, and then an in-home care plan is developed with the patient before they leave the hospital.
Once a patient transitions into the Hospitalist at Home program, a Wake Forest Baptist paramedic visits the patient at their home while a hospitalist physician reviews the care plan with the patient and paramedic virtually, using either a smart phone, mobile device or computer with a webcam. Virtual telehealth visits and in- person paramedic visits continue until the patient no longer needs to be monitored.
Leaders of the Hospitalist at Home program, including Huang, Padageshwar Sunkara, MD, Raj Nagaraj, MD, and John Blalock, associate vice president for clinical operations, expect the program to continue to grow.