A new initiative is working to provide access to medical care for seniors and others who are homebound or immobile by bringing health care services to the home using a staff of nurse practitioners, reports The Dispatch.
The service was developed by the Mississippi University for Women’s assistant professor of nursing, Mary Atkinson Smith.
Patients are referred by hospitals, nursing homes, case managers, insurance companies, family members, and a variety of other sources.
A Louisville native and MUW graduate who earned a doctorate of nursing at the University of Alabama, Smith said she saw a need in the Golden Triangle.
She spent nearly nine months developing a business plan and protocols that includes affiliation with a collaborating physician — something required by law. Patients with Medicaid, Medicare or other insurance qualify for assistance.
“We work closely with primary care providers to provide increased access to health care for their homebound elderly patients,” Smith said.
But care can start even earlier, when a patient is hospitalized.
“We are able to work with hospitals to provide transitional care to patients prior to their discharge and follow the patient into their post-discharge setting to ensure continuity of care and encourage compliance,” Smith said.
In patients’ homes, she added, “We can offer home safety evaluations, routine lab work, assistance with renewal of medications, administering annual flu shots, and other procedures.” The program also sees patients who are receiving services from home health and hospice agencies, and patients residing in nursing homes, in addition to assisted living facilities.
The model is new, but others are already expressing interest, according to Smith, and nurse practitioners in surrounding locations are looking into the program.
Written by Alyssa Gerace