UNC Health Advanced Care at Home Shortens Hospital Stays and Saves Money :: WRAL.com

— A new program from UNC Health allows many patients to leave the hospital sooner than they would have and receive acute care at home. This is a program that saves the patient money and frees up critically needed beds in the hospital.

Local UNC-TV legend Roy Underhill was recently a patient who benefited from the new program. His television show, “The WoodWright Shop”, still airs on public television stations across the country.

“[It was] for 37 years. It’s one of the longest-running TV programs,” said Underhill, who also teaches students how to use traditional woodworking tools as opposed to power tools.

HIs students come to his carpentry school in Pittsboro, some from outside the US “In an upcoming class, we have a student from Norway who has watched all the shows,” Underhill said.

Less than a month ago, a kidney infection undermined the forces of the septuagenarian. “It’s called sepsis, and it’s deadly,” Underhill said.

He was in emergency care at UNC for 24 hours and was considering three more days of acute care. However, Underhill was presented with a new option. He describes it like this: “They had a new program and said I could be home and they would get me hospital care!”

It’s called Advanced Care at Home, and it involves a home health monitoring system, backup power supplies, and communication devices through a phone as well as video through an iPad or even a button on a bracelet.

“And so they see someone virtually or in person six to seven times a day,” said Ila Mapp, program administrative director at UNC Health.

She says national data shows patients in the program are recovering faster. “It allows patients to feel more comfortable and it allows them to have more control,” Mapp said.

She adds: “These are the patients who are not sick enough to be hospitalized, but can go home and continue to provide the acute care they need.”

She says patients who receive care at home are also less likely to contract other hospital infections like MRSA or even COVID-19.

Underhill was quick to accept the offer of home care. He said, “You wear your own clothes, you are in your own bed, and you just get the medicine you need.

Underhill points out that it also costs less than staying in the hospital. “Freeing up a hospital bed is saving money, you recover faster. What’s not to like,” he said.

He is also thrilled to be back in his own home as well as his carpentry school, sharing his old-fashioned woodworking skills with eager students.

Elizabeth J. Harless