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George’s Story: Home Hospital Fosters Independence

Contributor(s): Justin Yunes, CNP
5 minute read
Nurse takes blood pressure of Home Hospital patient Home Hospital nurse takes patient George Hardy’s blood pressure.

When George Hardy was hospitalized with complications from congestive heart failure in early 2023, he received hospital-level inpatient care at home through the Mass General Brigham Home Hospital program. Home Hospital care is an option for patients with certain conditions whose health is stable enough that they don’t need to be in the hospital environment itself.

“We give careful attention and consideration to determine if a patient’s care plan can be carried out in the home setting, with the help of their Home Hospital team,” says Justin Yunes, a certified nurse practitioner (CNP) and member of George’s care team. “An attending physician oversees all care. Nurses, paramedics, or other providers visit patients twice each day to monitor the patient’s vital signs, dispense medications, provide treatments like IV fluids, and run tests.” Depending on the patient’s needs, a daily visit with the provider may be virtual.

For George, being at home was especially meaningful. Not only has he lived in Somerville, MA, for his whole life, but he’s spent 80 of his 84 years in the same multifamily home his parents bought for their growing family.

He’s grateful that Home Hospital allowed him to stay in his familiar surroundings. “The regular hospital is not the same atmosphere. Those nurses and doctors are fabulous, too. But there’s nothing like being in your own home,” he says.

This home is where he watched his 10 older siblings grow up. “I’m the youngest of 11, and I hated when they called me the baby of the family!” he says with a laugh. He and his late wife also raised their six children there, before she passed in January 2023 after almost 63 years of marriage. George is now a proud grandfather of 15.

The multifamily format of the home means that his loved ones are always nearby and supported him through his recovery. One of his sons and two of his grandchildren also live in apartments in the building. “The other kids, they’re always calling. They’re always visiting,” says George.

Coordinated Home Hospital services

“It was helpful to have George at home in his most comfortable setting, and to provide consistent care coordination,” Justin says. “Building that consistency helped to brighten his day and give him a predictable schedule. In his case, his symptoms got significantly better once he was at home.”

Justin and the team oversaw George’s care for multiple health conditions and monitored his vital signs remotely.

“We treated George with IV diuretics (medications that that help remove excess fluid from the blood) and stabilized his breathing,” Justin notes. “We managed his atrial fibrillation, vascular disease, and kidney disease. George’s heart monitor gave us his vital signs in real time 24/7, and medical staff monitored them onsite during their visits.”

Home Hospital teams can use other monitoring devices, including wireless scales and blood pressure cuffs that are connected via Bluetooth. Medical staff are on call 24/7 if a patient needs assistance at any time. The team also uses a secure messaging app so patients can conveniently communicate with their providers.

“In addition, we bring in physical therapy and occupational therapy, and dietitians that can do consults. We also coordinate the necessary services they might need once they’re discharged from the program,” Justin explains.

The Home Hospital team also coordinates with the patient’s primary care provider (PCP) and any other specialists on their Mass General Brigham care team.

The Home Hospital difference: Enhanced quality of life

When George needed acute care for his heart failure symptoms in the past, getting to the hospital was difficult and he sometimes had to wait a long time in the emergency room. He was excited and grateful to receive convenient inpatient care in his own home instead.

“At first, I didn’t know what to expect, but they were happy to help me out with whatever I needed,” George says. “The experience has been great. And I would think that anybody would want this service if they have the option to avoid being in the hospital.” 

Being surrounded by his family helped lift George’s spirits during a difficult time in his life.

“I think it enhanced his quality of life to maintain the amount of communication he wanted with his large family,” Justin says. “There are a lot of people to keep connected with.”

I looked forward to seeing these people every day. They make you feel like family. They help you. It’s not only the medical part that I’m talking about. They talk about your family. It makes you feel like they're interested in making you happy, making you feel good. It’s a pleasure.

George Hardy
Mass General Brigham Home Hospital patient

Strong provider-patient relationships

Another benefit of Home Hospital is the opportunity for patients to build strong relationships with their care team. The hospital can be a busy place with many interruptions. At a patient’s home, there’s more time to get to know each other.

“George is very friendly and very welcoming. He was always lighthearted, but as his health began to improve and he became more comfortable with the team, he started to open up and laugh and joke more, before being discharged,” Justin says.

George agrees. “I looked forward to seeing these people every day,” he says. “They make you feel like family. They help you. It’s not only the medical part that I’m talking about. They talk about your family. It makes you feel like they're interested in making you happy, making you feel good. It’s a pleasure.”

Patient-centered care at home

Observing a patient in their own home and learning about their priorities and lifestyle helps the Home Hospital team to provide care centered around what’s important to the patient. “It’s nice to see the home environment, where you can see where a person’s coming from and get to know them better,” explains Justin.

George enjoys being at home because of the independence it offers him. He loves to cook and is happy he can be back in the kitchen. Though his kids are now grown, he enjoys making meals for his family. “When my kids know I’m cooking, they’ll be up here that night,” he says. “They love my fishcakes.”

Now that George is out of Home Hospital and recovering, each day, he’s able to do more of the things he loves. “It feels like every other day I’m improving a little bit more. Before, when I used to shave, I used to have to sit in my chair and get a mirror. Now I can go stand in the bathroom and do it. It’s a little thing, but it makes you feel good. I like to do these things myself,” he says.  


Justin Yunes, CNP
Nurse Practitioner