The role of family within the virtual hospital model explained by Medically Home’s CEO Richard Rakowski.
“As you get older, fortunately or unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a patient. There’s a patient and the household that provides a circumference around the patient. So typically, and it varies by country, by age, by culture, but typically as you hit your 70’s, 80’s, 90’s your children start to become your parents. Your children start to take care of you. You have your spouse and your children. As you age and as your bodily system starts to deteriorate, your warranty starts to wear out and all of a sudden you’re in the parts management business. Then the responsibility is on your family to help you navigate the healthcare system, help you navigate medical episodes. So all of a sudden they’re involved and when you’re not breathing well, you’re dizzy, you fall, when you’re disoriented either a child that lives with you or lives nearby panics, as they should, and immediately run to the hospital ’cause that’s the natural knee-jerk reaction. So the family is an enormous part of the care the patient needs and they get. Now the family tries to stay with the patient in the hospital but family members that are younger typically work. They can’t spend four, five, six days in the hospital. So they try to show up and meet the doctor. But the doctor’s schedule to actually see the family and the family’s need to see them is like this, (shows visualization of hands passing and missing each other.) It’s literally like “ship’s passing in the night.”
So from a family’s point of view what information they need they often are struggling to get when they need it they’re often struggling to get it and God forbid the patient needs to talk to a doctor right away because the patient’s confused or concerned, they call the nurse with the nurse button, the nurse then shows up, “How can I help you?”, “I need to see the doctor.” “I’ll page him.” I was just recently in the hospital and I’ve just lived this in case I forgot why we started the company, (Medically Home’s virtual hospital model). There’s nothing wrong with how we’re delivering care, it’s just it’s no longer designed in alignment with how people live and think and feel, particularly families. So we’ve built an idea, a model around a simple view which is there’s no such thing as a patient. There’s a patient household. There’s the patient and all the family members that are involved with the patient. And this is particularly true if a patient’s close to end of life. The decisions on how to care for them towards the end of their life are typically either exacerbated or blocked by a family member. A family member who may be afraid of death, a family member who has religious beliefs that are either in alignment or not alignment with the patient. There’s always some sort of challenge between the patient and the family so you can’t responsibly treat the patient as if they’re in a vacuum on their own. You have to treat the household. We’ve designed everything we do to provide access to all the family, to all of us all the time. Information to the patient’s family all the time. We’ve recognized that the family is as much a part of the patient’s issues as they are the patient’s recovery.”