COVID-19 Home Monitoring Program (CHMP)
Staying Safe While Recovering at Home
The purpose of this program really is to support those higher-risk COVID patients in their homes with education and ongoing monitoring. Most importantly, it allows our team of Nurse Practitioners to intervene early before patients become critically ill. It also has many other benefits, such as allowing earlier discharge from hospital for patients as well as education and support for ill patients suffering from serious disease from COVID, which can be quite frightening to many.
Partners of the South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team Came Together to Bring the COVID-19 Home Monitoring Program to the South Georgian Bay Community
COVID-19 Home Monitoring Program (CHMP)
Partners of the South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team came together to bring the COVID-19 Home Monitoring Program to the South Georgian Bay Community.
In the spring of 2020 when it became apparent that COVID-19 could cause dangerously low oxygen levels, or silent hypoxia, in patients that were not awar of it, South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team (SGB OHT) partners, including local nurse practitioners and physicians, the Georgian Bay Family Health Team, Home and Community Care, and Collingwood General and Marine Hospital developed the COVID-19 Home Monitoring Program (CHMP), one of the first of its kind in the province. After looking at available resources and learning more about a similar program provided at London Health Sciences, the SGB OHT launched the CHMP in October 2020 and has supported almost 300 patients since then.
The CHMP allows those with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 to remain safely in the comfort of their home while receiving care. It is an additional tool in supporting residents in the South Georgian Bay community through this pandemic and alleviates pressure on the hospital and health system. Someone can enter the program if they are referred by a nurse practitioner or family physician, an emergency room physician or a hospitalist, or through the local South Georgian Bay COVID, Cold and Flu Care Clinic.
Additional Support for Patients
The program provides this additional support to patients until they are stable, recovered, and can be safely discharged from the program, which is usually done after about 10 days of monitoring. Ongoing COVID follow-up is referred to a primary care provider, or if the patient does not have a primary care provider, they can return to the COVID, Cold and Flu Care Clinic if they have concerns about any future symptoms. Throughout this whole process, a primary care physician (family doctor) receives regular updates through an electronic system that shares information between the CHMP team and someone’s regular doctor.
The GBFHT, a partner of the SGB OHT, has 8 Nurse Practitioners providing the main clinical and administrative support for this program, as well as medical advice from the GBFHO Physicians. The nurses review daily patient referrals and status reports, address any questions or concerns about enrolled patients, especially in emergent cases, and provides support in ensuring that other clinicians are aware of this program and can refer their patients when needed.
“Our awesome Nurse Practitioners and FHT staff really run the program,” adds Dr. Quigg. “I provide advice, but they really are the lead health professionals running this program. They’re amazing!”
Nurse Practitioners - Following Up for Patient Health
Stephanie Bertin is a Nurse Practitioner with the GBFHT working with the CHMP. Her role involves following up with CMHP patients via phone calls and ensuring that she prioritizes connecting with those patients who are experiencing more severe symptoms, or are at risk for adverse events because of COVID. Her main motivation is seeing the program work in real-time.
“The number of patients that we have either kept from becoming hospitalized or conversely, those who we have helped get to the emergency room when they are struggling at home is really motivational. I also get to work with incredible physicians, who have been essential in assisting us with getting these patients the life-saving treatments they need.”
Nurse Practitioner, Georgian Bay Family Health Team
I discovered a network of care provided by the nurse practitioners in our community – who called me daily to check my symptoms, provide very helpful information, and empathize with the anxiety I was feeling. They provided an oximeter to measure my blood oxygen levels and mostly made sure that I knew someone in the medical world was aware, watching, and on my side of the battle. Their front-line experience with the illness was the most insight I’ve received on COVID-19 since it began. Thank you to Maddy and all of you at the Family Health Team!
Working Collaboratively as OHT Partners
Your South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team is a team of local health professionals, organizations, and community members working to create an integrated health and social system to keep patients safe and healthy in their homes, especially during COVID-19, like the CHMP.
Dr. Quigg says that, in addition to providing patients with incredible support, another rewarding outcome of the CHMP has been this collaboration across organizations that has ensured the program’s success.
A key priority of our work together as an Ontario Health Team is our shared response to COVID-19. SGB OHT partners collaborate with patients, families, caregivers and the community to co-design the best possible care for our region during and beyond COVID-19. To keep our community safe and healthy during COVID-19, we are committed to continuing to leverage our strong relationships to provide our community with integrated services.
Watching the collaborative work of our GBFHT team working with other OHT partners such as the CGMH (that provided thousands of dollars in monitors), local family physicians like Dr. Harry O’Halloran, our nurse practitioners and GBFHT support staff has been awesome. In addition to running our COVID assessment centre and vaccinating thousands of patients, our GBFHT nurses and support staff have developed an incredible degree of expertise in dealing with COVID. I have watched them save quite a number of patients through the home monitoring program. It’s absolutely incredible to witness and be a part of.