Care kits provide comfort and help monitor patients’ health
Receiving a COVID-19 diagnosis can be a frightening experience as patients and their loved ones navigate their condition, treatment and path for healing.
That’s why, to help Geisinger patients and health plan members recover from the virus, our teams are providing care packages to help those self-treating at home — and lift their spirits, too.
Helping Geisinger patients heal
“The idea started as a way to help Geisinger 65 Forward participants who may have had trouble obtaining essential items while they sheltered in place, like shampoo or soap, by delivering care packages,” says Juli Molecavage, associate vice president of Quality and Primary Care Services. “The idea was so well-received that we decided to extend the program to patients who tested positive for COVID-19.”
After a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, they are advised to stay home and stay separate from family members for 14 days.
“Receiving a COVID-19 diagnosis can be a time of fear and uncertainty,” says Ms. Molecavage. “Delivering care packages to our patients’ homes is just one small way for us to show them that we care and we’re here for them.”
When a person is tested for COVID-19 at one of Geisinger’s facilities, a nurse will call them to provide their test result. If the test is positive, the nurse provides education and asks if they would like to receive a care package. Funded through philanthropic donations, the packages include a mask, handwritten “get well” card, coloring book and colored pencils, a few snacks, essential oil soap, hot/cold pack and stress-relieving tea. The package also includes informational content on self-treating at home, how to stay separate from household members and Geisinger’s COVID-19 hotline.
“We started sending care packages on April 22 and since then have sent more than 350 in a little over a week,” says Ms. Molecavage. “We’re now up to nearly 600 packages mailed and continue to send about 50 to 60 packages a day.”
COVID-19 care kits for remote monitoring
Geisinger patients who test positive and are at a higher risk for complications from the virus may receive an additional COVID-19 care kit to help their care team monitor their condition and treatment at home. This includes Geisinger Health Plan members who are living with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, COPD, hypertension or heart failure.
These care kits, coordinated in part by Geisinger Health Plan, contain a pulse oximeter, which monitors blood-oxygen levels, a digital thermometer and acetaminophen to reduce fever and any muscle aches or pains, along with instructions on how to use the items. Patients who require closer monitoring may receive a thermometer with Bluetooth technology, so that as they take their temperature throughout the day, the reading is sent directly to their Geisinger care team.
“While most people who have COVID-19 are able to treat themselves at home, we needed the ability to continue monitoring those who are self-treating at home as well as those who have left the hospital,” explains Joann Sciandra, vice president of Care Coordination and Integration.
To assist with self-treatment at home, patients receive frequent follow-up calls from a registered nurse, who also provides instructions on how to use the devices. In the coming weeks, some patients may receive a Bluetooth device that they wear 24/7 to monitor their temperatures, pulse-oxygen levels, respiratory rate and pulse.
“These kits help us stay connected with our patients and monitor their daily health. It also lets us keep a closer eye on them and identify any changes in their condition that require additional care,” says Ms. Sciandra. “And that helps them focus on what matters most — recovering.”