FastTrack Home prevents nursing home placements during COVID-19 pandemic

Friday, November 20, 2020

woman at tableVirginia’s plan is to live her life at home for as long as possible. She’s lived most of her life on the same street on Cincinnati’s West Side. This street holds a lot of memories – she raised two children, ran a beauty salon and shared life’s ups and downs with her late husband, Henry.

So, when serious health problems and a trip to the hospital threatened that plan, Virginia and her family turned to FastTrack Home to get things back on track.

When Virginia, 89, was unusually lethargic and slurring her words, her son, Henry, was alarmed and suggested she go to the hospital. At the hospital, it was discovered that Virginia’s blood-oxygen levels were low.

A blood transfusion helped, but doctors were concerned about her kidneys and high blood pressure. Virginia’s trip to the Emergency Room turned into an extended hospital stay and it wasn’t clear if or when she would be able to return home.

While she was in the hospital, Jasmine, a Council on Aging (COA) FastTrack Home hospital coach, visited Virginia in her room. As her daughter, Bev, learned how FastTrack Home could help Virginia recover at home, she breathed a sigh of relief.

“When she came in and told us all these services that she would look into, I could have just hugged her,” Bev recalled. “It was like a miracle that God sent out of the clouds. She brightened the entire hospital stay.”

FastTrack Home sets up temporary in-home care services (such as transportation, meals, personal care and homemaking services) before an older adult goes home from the hospital. This is a key difference from COA’s other in-home care programs because older adults are at an increased risk for illness, injury and readmission in the 30 days following discharge from a care facility. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when nursing facilities have been hot spots for outbreaks and even deaths, hospitals in our region have used COA’s FastTrack Home program to discharge nearly 1,300 older adults to their homes with support, instead of to a nursing facility for rehabilitation.

With her doctors assured that she would receive the services and support needed for her recovery, a plan was put in place to discharge Virginia to her home instead of to a nursing facility. This was a relief to Virginia’s children, who were worried about their mother being in a nursing facility during a pandemic.

Through FastTrack Home, Virginia received daily home-delivered meals. Virginia is known as a great cook, but no longer has the stamina to prepare a meal. Because of the home-delivered meals, Bev is comforted knowing her mother has something to eat when she can’t provide it.

FastTrack Home also provided Virginia with an electronic monitoring system. “Mom has narrowing of the arteries which can cause her to be weak and faint,” Bev said. “It’s a huge relief to know we’ll know if something happens.”

Bev is particularly grateful for Virginia’s aide who visits two hours once a week to clean her house. “I am retired, and I watch my grandson each day while my daughter works,” she said. “At the end of the day, I’m tired, and don’t have the energy to go clean mom’s house.”

Before Virginia’s temporary FastTrack Home services end (a maximum of 60 days), she will receive a full evaluation for the Elderly Services Program or other Council on Aging programs. This ensures continuity of care for older adults who need assistance beyond FastTrack Home’s 60-day window.

For now though, FastTrack Home has put Virginia’s plan to stay in her home back on track.

For more information about FastTrack Home or to learn how Council on Aging is serving our community during the COVID-19 pandemic, call (513) 721-1025 or visit www.help4seniors.org.