Since the end of July 2021, data gathered by The New York Times shows an upward trend in new COVID-19 cases due to the COVID-19 delta variant in the United States.
A more contagious mutation of the original Coronavirus strain, the new COVID-19 variant has increased the demand on hospitals throughout the country, causing overcapacity issues that have led many hospitals to defer patients to other facilities. In some cases, hospitals have had to turn patients away and even postpone care for cancer patients.
However, with the adoption of hospital-at-home programs, many facilities can alleviate some of the additional burdens and free up beds for more critical patients by providing hospital-quality services and care for non-COVID patients – and less critical coronavirus patients – in the comfort of their own homes.
COVID-19 Delta Variant Impact on Hospitals in the U.S.
Studies show that patients infected with this new COVID-19 variant may be more likely to be hospitalized than patients infected with the original COVID-19 strain.
This crisis has impacted both rural and urban hospitals. In some cases, urban hospitals have been overwhelmed with coronavirus patients who have had to be relocated to rural hospitals. Due to the low numbers of vaccinations in rural locations, an upsurge in patients has significantly impacted those areas.
The delta variant has raised uncertainties for hospitals. As hospitals and health systems started to recover from the COVID-19 surge of 2020, the delta variant created new setbacks that have impacted their revenue due to escalating expenses.
Some consumers have postponed non-urgent procedures and other care due to fear of the new variant. Operating margins were down 7% compared to early 2019 according to physician’s groups across the country. In Texas and Florida, there were shortages of ICU beds because the number of hospitalized patients had risen so drastically.
A Yale study determined that fatalities may be driven by changes in resources and lack thereof. According to these studies, this has been the case in many northeastern hospitals. From March to July 2020, regions with fewer resources (ICU beds, staff, critical care physicians, etc.) were associated with more deaths. Close to 16,000 COVID-19 patients died at these hospitals due to a lack of ICU beds.
While patients are seen, some are unable to transition to beds. The analysis yielded deaths above and beyond what was normally expected. So many Florida cases have maxed out hospital bed capacity that some patients are made to wait inside ambulances for up to an hour before being seen.
Delta COVID Variant Symptoms Impact on Patients
Without the confirmation of a test, it might be difficult for someone who has been vaccinated to know if they’ve been infected or not. Patients not familiar with the symptoms of the delta variant, with limited access to health care, or who have low health literacy won’t know to seek additional treatment, and in many cases, won’t even know that they should get tested.
According to the CDC, symptoms are very similar between the original strain and the delta variant, with a few distinct differences:
- Low-Grade Fever
- Difficulty Breathing/Shortness of Breath
- Body & Muscle Aches
- Loss of Smell & Taste
COVID-19 Delta Variant
- Difficulty Breathing
- Pain & Tightness in Chest
- Brain Fog/Confusion
- Severe Fatigue/Inability to Stay Awake
- Change in Skin Tone (turning blue, gray or pale)
Delta Variant and High Transmission Levels
General lack of awareness, failure to wear a mask in public or practice social distancing, and the higher rate of contagion, have been the primary factors in the rapid spread of the delta variant. Its genetic changes make it more infectious and capable of evading the protection of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Hospital at Home Programs Reduce Burdens on Hospitals
Hospital at home programs were developed as a solution for treating patients remotely. This approach uses a variety of medical attention and provides compassionate patient care. Another benefit of this is the reduced cost of hospitalizations with the use of technology that allows for remote supervision.
Virtual care is provided through digital engagement, telehealth, and remote monitoring tools, reducing hospitalizations with in-home care.
Hospital at home programs offer cost-effective solutions for overcrowded hospitals and overwhelmed staff. An effective way of treating patients remotely, hospital at home programs not only help to alleviate the strain on medical resources during the COVID-19 crisis, but also establish a new way for patients to be diagnosed and treated, and continue to receive care in the future with virtual home visits.
This helps hospitals prepare for future surges, as well as to maintain cost-effective, patient-centered care solutions from the comfort of their homes, while also reducing the need for patients to travel to and from the hospital to receive basic monitoring and updates to their care plans that can otherwise be managed remotely.
Here’s how it works: after patients are admitted into the hospital, diagnosed, and treated, they are then relocated to their home and continue to receive care. They will continue their treatment as outlined by their physicians remotely. Minor adjustments can be made to their plans based on the data that is collected by remote monitoring devices and further analyzed by their care team.
Hospital in Home Services For New COVID-19 Variant & Beyond
Trapollo offers powerful and innovative Hospital in Home solutions to help alleviate the demand on hospitals, allowing them to free up more beds for more critical COVID-19 patients while providing hospital-level care to other patients in the comfort of their homes. Our world-class team provides intelligent technology that utilizes the latest and most innovative monitoring devices for intimate patient care.
Our Hospital in Home services can address a wide range of chronic and non-chronic conditions. We coordinate with patients and providers, ensuring timely delivery or removal of equipment from patient homes.
Not only can this help alleviate some of the burdens on hospitals during this most recent surge of the pandemic, but it can also reduce the per-day cost of hospitalization.
Since patients tend to respond better to being cared for in a familiar and comfortable environment surrounded by loved ones, our Hospital in Home solution helps promote better patient outcomes.
To learn more about how our Hospital in Home solutions can help boost the capacity at your hospital during the pandemic and beyond, connect with us here.