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Inpatient care from the comfort of home: Tom Faulkner’s story

5 minute read
senior male at home facing camera

“I would sit right here in my chair. They sat on the couch and we talked about family and friends and trips,” says Tom Faulkner, 81, of West Roxbury.

Tom was recently discharged from Mass General Brigham’s Home Hospital service after a bout with cellulitis. He reflects on his 12-day experience, receiving inpatient care from the comfort of his home, with tremendous satisfaction. “They brought everything they needed right to my house,” he says. “They came when they said they were going to come and were friendly and highly skilled. I could not be more pleased with the comprehensive care I received.”

Despite being all too familiar with the healthcare system as a result of his diabetes and heart disease, Tom and his family had never heard of the Home Hospital until he found himself in the Emergency Department at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital with pain and swelling in his leg. Tom was diagnosed with cellulitis which would require intravenous antibiotics to treat. Tom spent the night in the Emergency Department fearing he would be admitted to the hospital. Luckily, the attending physician who checked in on Tom the next morning had a better idea.

Tom was an ideal candidate for the Home Hospital.

The attending physician explained that with Mass General Brigham’s Home Hospital patients receive hospital-level care without having to actually stay in a hospital facility. For patients like Tom, who are experiencing eligible conditions such as heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, infection and more, Home Hospital offers the opportunity to be treated and recover, often more quickly than in the hospital, while in the comforts and familiar surroundings of home.

Tom’s wife of nearly 60 years, Beverly, and his son, Mark, were a little hesitant at first.

“I did have some doubts,” says Mark. “I was worried he might not receive the level of care he needed. Would the nurses and doctors come when they said they were going to come? But every day, they were on time and the care he received was excellent.”

Beverly agrees. “The doctors and nurses who came to our home were so sociable,” she says. “After every visit, they would leave a phone number where we could reach them that day if we needed anything.”

On one occasion, Tom, who is on a blood thinner, began to experience some bleeding. He and Beverly called the care team. “The doctor was very reactive,” says Mark. “Within five minutes he had a plan and put that plan into action.”

In addition to the expert care Tom received while comfortably resting in his favorite chair in his living room, he says there were many other benefits to the service. He was able to have as many family members visit as he wanted—the couple have five grandchildren in total—sleep in his own bed, enjoy the privacy of his own bathroom and eat his favorite meals prepared in his own kitchen.

“This service is wonderful. I would recommend it to anyone who fits the criteria. But I do hope to never need to use it again!” he jokes.