Hospital at Home helps Princess recover at home with her children
Discovery Health's Hospital at Home allowed Princess Sithole to have hospital-level care for pneumonia, at home. Being in familiar surroundings with her children meant a lot. Princess' husband died in hospital two years prior, leaving her and her children with a fear of being in hospital.
"I had a collapsed lung in 2015 and since then I've had recurring lung infections," says 41-year-old nurse, Princess Sithole. "More recently my health had been fine. Then, in May this year, I started feeling sick with flu-like symptoms. My GP was worried about my low oxygen levels but knew that I didn't want to go to hospital because of what had happened to my husband. In 2021, he was hospitalised with COVID-19 and he never came home again.
So, the GP sent me home with medicine. I treated myself there until I got better and was able to go back to work."
"All I could think about was my children"
A few days later, Princess started feeling ill again. "I really didn't feel well and was very dizzy. I asked a colleague, another nurse, to take me to casualty. She had to use a wheelchair because I couldn't walk. They did tests and found that I had pneumonia. I was admitted to hospital," says Princess.
"That was a nightmare situation for me. I am a single parent to a daughter (15) and a son (3) and I don't have relatives in Johannesburg who could help with them. I hadn't slept away from my children since my husband's death. When my daughter visited me, I could see she was scared and thinking that I wasn't going to get better, especially after what had happened to my husband. The expression on her face really stayed with me. I couldn't sleep while I was in hospital because all I could think about was my children. The stress of the situation gave me a persistent headache."
"After two days in hospital, the doctor, who knew my story and could see that I was struggling, suggested trying Discovery Health's Hospital at Home. This was especially because I had been responding well to the antibiotics they'd given me. I hadn't heard of Hospital at Home before but I said that I'd try it because I really wanted to be with my children."
- Hospital at Home was launched in January 2022, giving eligible patients access to high-quality medical care in the comfort of their homes.
- Patients admitted to Hospital at Home have access to an app that is linked to the remote-monitoring Biofourmis device. It continuously monitors 22 physiological signals such as blood pressure, pulse, heart rate and heart rhythm. It shares these in real-time with the care team and a 24/7 control centre.
Princess felt more comfortable in her own space
"Soon after I got home, a nurse from Discovery Health arrived and explained everything to me, assessed me, and put up a drip. Nurses came three times a day and I appreciated that they were always punctual. A physiotherapist also visited me at home and to this day I'm still doing the exercises she taught me to help my lungs," says Princess.
"I am a shy person and I felt far safer and more comfortable being in my own space. I could see my children, even though I wasn't able to do much for them. I could move around, be in my own bed, go to my own bathroom. I could go to the kitchen or walk around outside if I felt like it.
"Initially I was unsure about how Hospital at Home would work and if it would be effective. I thought I might be admitted back to the hospital by the evening. But I was pleasantly surprised and soon realised I had every reason to have confidence in Hospital at Home."
Princess recovered quickly and was discharged from Hospital at Home after three days.
DHMS covers the cost
"I was curious to see my statement from Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) after being admitted to Hospital at Home. I hadn't even asked my doctor what the costs would be because I was so desperate to be with my children. I only started thinking about the costs later.
"It seemed like having nurses driving to my home every day was some kind of special treatment. I thought it would be expensive and that the costs would be deducted from my medical aid savings. I couldn't believe it when I got my statement! I had expected to see something ridiculous, but my Hospital at Home admission cost less than I expected. Discovery Health Medical Scheme covered everything - the same as it would with a normal hospital admission.
"Overall, I think Hospital at Home is a great idea and I've even told my friends about it. Thank you so much to Discovery Health for this initiative. I feel like Hospital at Home was made just for me!"
Want to know more?
Physician Dr Elton Joseph was pleasantly surprised after using Hospital at Home for the first time to successfully manage a medically complex patient. He plans to continue using the service and encourages his peers to try it too.
For Reona Naidoo, the Hospital at Home programme has made getting sick regularly (post a surgery in 2019) more bearable. She now has access to 24/7 treatment and monitoring, giving her peace of mind about her health - and also about avoiding separation from her two children for days on end.
As an early adopter of the Discovery Hospital at Home programme, Dr Sudeshan Govender reports back on the significant benefits for his patients - including access to cutting-edge remote monitoring technologies and top healthcare teams, and more.