Mercy offering virtual care for COVID patients to free up hospital beds

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ST. LOUIS- Mercy will use its virtual system to help care for select COVID-19 patients at home. The Mercy COVID Care @ Home program will ease the strain at hospitals by freeing up beds.

Mercy COVID Care @ Home will offer remote, in-home care for patients with mild symptoms who may need low-flow rates of oxygen.

The 24-hour care will include measurement of oxygen saturation by pulse oximetry, adjusting oxygen flow as necessary, along with additional evaluations.

“We have learned that not all patients who were admitted at the onset of COVID-19 need to be hospitalized,” said Dr. Carter Fenton, medical director of Mercy Virtual vAcute in a press release. “By caring for select patients at home, with ongoing monitoring and management, we can reserve the hospital beds for those with more serious disease symptoms.”

An emergency medicine physician will help determine the type of care the patient needs if their condition changes. That care could be an in-home visit, at an outpatient clinic, or at a hospital.

Mercy worked with Northwell Health, New York’s largest health care provider, to learn how it set up a similar program last spring.

Sunday, the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force reported staffed bed hospital capacity is at 77% and the ICU’s are at 89% of their total staffed capacity.

Mercy is one of four area health systems that make up the task force. The others are BJC HealthCare, SSM Health, and St. Luke’s Hospital.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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