Innovative monitoring technology and attentive nurses impress Dylan Jennings during his Hospital at Home stay
During a Discovery Health Hospital at Home stay, Dylan Jennings was amazed by advanced monitoring, remote team's care, and nurse's professionalism.
In June 2023, one week before he was due to run his first Comrades Marathon, Dylan Jennings (43) became ill. "I had severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting," he says. "It was quite traumatic. I can't remember ever experiencing pain like that before. The next day, I went to my doctor, who did some scans. I was diagnosed with diverticulitis and admitted to hospital."
- Diverticulitis refers to small, bulging pouches (called diverticula) in the lining of your digestive system that become inflamed or infected.
"As good as our private hospitals are, it's difficult to be there. You're not in your own space, and you're sharing space with other people. You're meant to rest but you get woken up at 03:30 in the morning for blood tests."
After a few days in hospital, Dylan's doctor recommended Hospital at Home.
"I knew I'd be more comfortable in my own space. I told my doctor that I'd try it, provided it wouldn't put my health at risk and as long as everything would still be covered in full by my medical ai)."
- Discovery Health Hospital at Home was launched in January 2022, giving eligible patients access to high-quality medical care in the comfort of their own homes.
- Hospital at Home offers 24/7 treatment and monitoring (both in-person and virtual) by a dedicated care team.
"Before leaving the hospital, my doctor reassured me that being admitted to Hospital at Home was not only safe but also that DHMS would cover it in full, the same as it would an in-hospital admission."
"You're getting treatment at home, out of a hospital, but it's being paid for as an in-hospital claim."
"As a member of a medical aid, you develop an in-hospital and out-of-hospital mindset when it comes to the way that your claims will be covered. With Hospital at Home you have to change that traditional mindset. You're getting treatment at home, out of a hospital, but it's being paid for as an in-hospital claim."
"I was taken aback by how well monitored I was."
"A nurse met me at my home. He put a Biofourmis monitoring device on my arm, explained how it worked, and showed me the mobile app it connected to. With my sporting background, I am very familiar with fitness trackers and even own a device that monitors me in a similar way to the Biofourmis device."
- 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, and heart rate and rhythm, sharing these in real-time with the care team and a 24/7 control centre.
"I was really impressed that Discovery Health is embracing the technology that is out there. And I was quite taken aback by how well monitored it was. I got a phone call one night, in the middle of the night, from a doctor who said they weren't receiving a signal from the device and asked if everything was alright. Fortunately, I was fine; the device had just lost connection to the mobile app. I also got a message reminding me to charge the device when its battery was low."
"At another stage, they phoned me and said they were concerned that my heart rate was too low. I showed them the last six months' worth of stats from my other fitness device to show that it's normal for me to have a low heart rate because I'm so fit."
"It was nice to know that the device wasn't just put on as a decoration. The team was actually looking at the information coming through and interrogating it in real time."
Fantastic nurses give Hospital at Home a human face
"The nurses came to my home three times a day, at 05:30, 14:00 and 21:30. They would be there for between 30 and 45 minutes at a time. They were so on top of things and were good at giving me information about the process. While they were with me, they would draw blood, check my vitals, and run an antibiotic drip."
"They were professional and friendly, but they were also very aware and considerate of the fact that they were in my space. They were customer-oriented, and their bedside manner was fantastic."
"I know that the technology and systems are very important for a service like Hospital at Home. But the nurses gave a human 'face' to the service, and that's really what made the experience brilliant for me."
"Being in one's own space definitely speeds up the healing process".
"It was comforting for my pregnant wife and three children to have me at home. But I forgot that I was sick and defaulted back to being the dad at home and not a patient in hospital. I started doing too much around the house, and it made me feel sick again. So I had to remind myself to slow down."
"Despite that, I'd still take being at home in my own space over being in hospital. Being in one's own space definitely speeds up the healing process."
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.
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.