At-Home Care to the Rescue

UCM Digital Health provides virtual care and care within the home, saving one patient and an EMS team from a visit to the ER.

Around one month ago, Charles, an elderly veteran, had a procedure through the VA to have a pacemaker placed in his chest due to his history of heart palpitations and fatigue. Initially, he felt comfortable with the process, but as the days post-surgery passed he began feeling uneasy about his well-being. He was nervous about the possibility of a sudden heart attack or stroke and decided to contact his cardiology nurse at the VA to ask her for advice on his situation and gain some clarity about his condition. Unfortunately, the nurse was not able to offer any sort of advice over the phone and advised Charles to come into the hospital to be seen in person. This, of course, was not a convenient solution for Charles. He was already feeling uneasy and did not feel up to traveling to the hospital 45 minutes from his house. After talking it over with his kids, the family ultimately decided to dial 911 so that they could get a guaranteed answer from a medical professional. 

A local paramedic arrived at the family’s home and began checking the patient’s vitals and condition. The paramedics found that most of Charles’ vitals were stable – his heart rate was 70 and his blood pressure was 120/80. However, an EKG showed that he did have an irregular heart rhythm, also called AFIB. The EKG did not reveal any concern for a heart attack. Once they concluded that the patient’s condition was stable and he was not in a life-threatening situation, the paramedic knew that Charles would be a great patient for their partnership with UCM Digital Health. 

The paramedics allowed UCM’s team of ER-trained medical professionals to step in and conduct a consultation with the patient via video call. The provider confirmed that Charles was on a blood thinner and that his heart rate was controlled before reassuring the family that this was not an emergency that required a hospital visit. The provider explained how many individuals live normal lives with AFIB, even without symptoms, through outpatient treatment. Charles already had an upcoming follow-up appointment with his cardiologist set up and with the guidance of the medical provider, they determined that it was perfectly fine for him to wait the few days left until his appointment to set up his treatment plan. 

The patient and his family were relieved to have avoided taking any urgent actions on the night of the incident and could stay at home. The provider addressed the patient’s concerns over his AFIB diagnosis and reassured him that he did not need immediate care, meaning he could wait until his appointment in a few days without the stress. The biggest benefit in this situation to Charles and his wife was the peace of mind that this provided during a moment of distress. The entire family was pleasantly surprised by the level of care that they received from the paramedics and the UCM Digital Health team of medical professionals. In fact, they noted it as being their best healthcare experience to date based on the compassion they felt from the team and the convenience of not having to leave their home. A few days following Charles’ appointment, UCM heard back from his wife who wanted to share her thoughts and experience with the entire process.

“I am so incredibly grateful. The doctor explained in easy-to-understand terms how the pacemaker was operating and what to look out for. I will be able to have a much happier holiday season because of the time the doctor took with me and my husband.”