NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Northwell Health has launched a home care initiative for people infected with COVID-19, so they can be treated effectively without having to go to a hospital. Together, the COVID Ambulatory Resource Support (CARES) program and the Coronavirus Related Outpatient Work Navigators (CROWN) program are designed for patients with symptoms that range from moderate to severe, and offer a way to treat people in the lowest-risk environment possible while also protecting hospital capacity if a second surge of COVID-19 cases develops.
“What we saw in the COVID surge was that 80 to 90 percent of people who were sick with the virus never went to a hospital,” said Thomas McGinn, MD, Northwell’s senior vice president and deputy physician-in-chief, who helped create CARES. “That included COVID patients who really required a higher level of care but were too scared to go. We created our COVID home-care programs to make sure every patient gets the support they need.”
Because the programs are designed to provide care for anyone with COVID-19 who doesn’t require intensive care, they include a broad variety of services. For instance, if someone is mildly ill but lacks needed support at home, CARES enlists care managers to ensure proper nutrition and follow-up. For someone who is sick enough to require substantial management and specialized knowledge from a doctor, CARES offers primary care physicians step-by-step guidance to treatment, including when to schedule a telehealth appointment, when an in-person visit is needed and when a patient needs hospitalization, among other things.
For seriously ill patients who have high-risk features, such as persistent shortness of breath or fever, possibly with an underlying health condition, the CROWN program provides a near-hospital level of care. Developed by Northwell pulmonologist Gita Lisker, MD, the CROWN program can quickly send out a home care nurse, a phlebotomist to draw blood for COVID-specific tests, a pulse oximeter to track the blood-level of oxygen and a tank of supplementary oxygen, all generally on the same day the patient is enrolled in the program. Other services are also available, such as home delivery of anticoagulant medication if the risk of blood clots is high, placement of an intravenous line or an X-ray exam done with a portable machine.
CROWN is also available to provide home care to COVID-19 patients who have been discharged from the hospital but need further treatment. After a hospital stay for COVID-19, many people struggle with extreme weakness; if they were on a ventilator for a prolonged period, they may have post-traumatic stress disorder, delirium or other issues.
The new COVID home-care initiative draws on and coordinates a variety of preexisting Northwell programs, such as Northwell Health Solutions, the health system’s care management program; primary care; home care; post-acute services; and numerous specialties, including cardiology, neurology and radiology. Any Northwell physician can reach out to CARES or CROWN on behalf of a patient. In addition, Northwell patients and their families can reach out directly to get help.
“During the surge, many New York hospitals were on the verge of being completely overwhelmed, but the irony is that with the right planning, much of what COVID-19 patients need can be done at home,” Dr. Lisker said. “CARES and CROWN can provide patients with the highest level of care while protecting the ability of hospitals to function. It’s a win for the patient and a win for the health care system.”
For more information or to connect with CARES, Northwell patients, families and providers can call 855-569-4227. To connect directly with the CROWN program, they can call 516-465-5400.
About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, nearly 800 outpatient facilities and more than 14,200 affiliated physicians. We care for over two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 72,000 employees – 17,000-plus nurses and 4,500 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit Northwell.edu and follow us @NorthwellHealth on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.