Mobile Health Service Helps Patient Recover at Home

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Mobile Health Service Helps Patient Recover at Home

Barbara Watson remembers last December well. She and her husband, Greg, had difficulty breathing and were taken to the emergency room just days apart. Both learned they had COVID-19.

While Greg stayed in the hospital to recover, Barbara returned to their Brocton, Illinois home where she was visited by Horizon Health’s Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) service. Comprised of specially trained paramedics and a nurse practitioner, the service provided her with the care she needed to successfully recover.

“I really commend Horizon Health. They kept me out of the hospital,” said Barbara, age 61. “If not for them, who knows what would have happened.”

The MIH service provides in-home medical visits and wellbeing checks after a patient leaves the hospital. A specific focus of the program is on individuals with chronic and complex conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and congestive heart failure (CHF). With the service still in development, it was launched earlier than expected last November due to COVID-19.

Paramedic Nic Thomas, MIH coordinator, said the program is revolutionizing the way Horizon Health is able to care for its patients outside the walls of a hospital or clinic. Paramedics visit patients immediately after they leave the hospital, with follow-up visits on days 3, 5, and as needed after that.

“The patients we visit have serious medical conditions,” Nic explained. “Visiting them before a medical emergency occurs helps keep them out of the emergency room and from being readmitted to the hospital. The service also benefits patients who face transportation barriers when it comes to attending medical appointments. It’s a clinic room we bring to you.”

During their visits, paramedics provide a full health assessment, which includes monitoring oxygen levels, blood pressure, and body temperature. They also draw blood for testing when needed. The service includes a family nurse practitioner, Amanda Talamantes, who has expanded her practice from nursing home visits to include in-home visits.

“Amanda was really worried about me,” Barbara said. “She gave me an antibiotic, recommended oxygen, and made sure I ate and drank something.”

Barbara said she was thankful someone checked on her regularly while her husband of 40 years was in the hospital. The in-home visits were especially important as her COVID symptoms progressed and because of her preexisting health conditions, which include asthma. The MIH service also helped monitor Greg’s condition when he returned home.

“It’s wonderful that Horizon Health has this program,” Barbara said. “I really appreciated Nic and Amanda. If they had not helped me, things may have ended differently.”

About Mobile Integrated Healthcare

Horizon Health’s Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) service is for individuals with chronic and complex conditions.
Individuals are eligible for the program with a diagnosis of hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), or COVID-19. These patients must be referred to the program by healthcare personnel, such as a primary care provider, emergency physician, or care coordinator.

If you have questions, contact your primary care provider. If you need a primary care provider at Horizon Health, call 217-465-8411.

Nic Thomas – Paramedic
Nic is a registered nurse and paramedic. He is coordinator of the Mobile Integrated Healthcare service. Nic has seven years of experience as a paramedic and one year as a registered nurse. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry from Eastern Illinois University. He will complete his education to become a nurse practitioner this summer. His passion is pre-hospital care.

Amanda Talamantes – Nurse Practitioner
Amanda provides care for patients in nursing homes and provides home visits through the Mobile Integrated Healthcare service. Her experience includes working as a hospitalist and as a nurse practitioner examiner conducting in-home health risk assessments. She has worked as a house supervisor and emergency room/pre-hospital registered nurse. She was a combat medic in the US Army National Guard and has experience in correctional medicine practice.