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Mobile Integrated Health program “something to brag about” for one patient

Mobile Integrated Health program “something to brag about” for one patient
Lillie McKoy isn’t shy about admitting she is stubborn. McKoy, a 67-year-old mother of three from Champaign, has also seen her fair share of hospitals and clinics to get her health on track.
So when her provider recommended Arrow Ambulance’s Mobile Integrated Health Unit, it took some convincing before she agreed to the program.
“At the time, my health was really deteriorating, and the doctor wanted me to participate,” McKoy said. “I didn’t really want to. But eventually, I thought ‘OK, maybe this will actually help me.’”
Carle’s Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) program is a free service offered through Arrow Ambulance. The program utilizes specially trained paramedics to perform in-home visits and welfare checks after a patient leaves the hospital. During these visits, a paramedic will perform a full assessment complete with vital signs, weight check and physical examination.
Paramedics are also able to offer education to patients in addition to services like blood pressure monitoring, temperature checks and more. A patient enrolled in the Mobile Integrated Health program sees a paramedic once a week for 5-6 weeks.
“Knowing that I have someone to come over and check on me makes me feel safe,” McKoy said. “If I call and tell them to come over, they will come. I am always confident that they are going to do whatever it takes to help me feel better.”
Zach Green, EMT-P, program coordinator, Mobile Integrated Health, says that this program, while still new, is revolutionizing the way Carle is able to care for its patients outside the walls of a hospital or clinic.
“Historically, paramedics are only ever viewed as emergency providers that you hope you never need to rely on, but when you do need them they are just a phone call away,” Green said. “MIH aims to slightly change that view by introducing a paramedic to the patient before a medical emergency even takes place.”
At its launch, the MIH program saw about 120 unique patients. It now has the capacity to care for roughly 30 patients a month.
Green notes that heart failure patients are a specific focus for the program because of the complexity and severity of the disease. He also emphasizes the thorough education and training each paramedic receives to work in the MIH program.
Keeping patients out of the hospital, even more so throughout the pandemic, is an important goal for the team at Carle. Most of the time, patients can take action at home to prevent them from having to return.
“Something as simple as educating a patient to eat healthier or identifying the need for a medication adjustment could be the difference between a managed illness at home or an unhealthy path down a much longer road to recovery,” Green said.
While the health benefits of having someone come to your home are notable, many patients find comfort in the relationship they build with their care provider. For McKoy, the ability to have someone care for her in her own home was a luxury in itself, but the friendship she’s made with her care provider was a welcomed surprise.
“For me, the program is personal. They know me. I know them. It’s a winner in my eyes,” McKoy said. “Zach was friendly and wonderful. Not only did he become a good friend, he truly cares about me. If the door is unlocked, he knows to come on in!”
Because the pandemic has stressed the need for routine health checkups and wellness visits, the impact felt because of the MIH program could not be greater. The program will continue to play a pivotal role in keeping chronically ill patients and high-risk groups healthy.
“You have to do this program,” McKoy said. “It has brought me to where I am now. I actually brag on this program to my friends. When I see the car pull up to my house, I am proud to know that I am well taken care of."
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Categories: Staying Healthy

Tags: “mobile, “population, Arrow, health”