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Pandemic Boosts an Old Idea—Bringing Acute Care to the Patient

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To identify the key insights or developments described in this article

After several days in a hospital with COVID-19 pneumonia, Tim Shain of Lincolnton, North Carolina, didn’t hesitate when a registered nurse told him he was well enough to complete his recovery at home. “Let’s go,” he replied.

But he wasn’t being discharged. The 54-year-old Marine still needed a moderate flow of supplemental oxygen and close monitoring of his respiratory symptoms but not round-the-clock nursing. So Charlotte, North Carolina–based Atrium Health transferred him to a program that provides hospital-level care in patients’ homes.

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After several days in a hospital with COVID-19 pneumonia, Tim Shain of Lincolnton, North Carolina, didn’t hesitate when a registered nurse told him he was well enough to complete his recovery at home. “Let’s go,” he replied.

But he wasn’t being discharged. The 54-year-old Marine still needed a moderate flow of supplemental oxygen and close monitoring of his respiratory symptoms but not round-the-clock nursing. So Charlotte, North Carolina–based Atrium Health transferred him to a program that provides hospital-level care in patients’ homes.

For the hospital system, the move freed up a bed as COVID-19 cases surged last fall. There were upsides for Shain, too. Being reunited with his wife, his dogs, and his infant grandson elevated his mood and motivated him to ease back into his routine. His lungs healed faster, he believes, because he could walk around and climb stairs to go to bed. And he developed a close rapport with the paramedics who visited each day.

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