For John Jolly, retirement means enjoying time with his wife, gardening and walking 10,000 steps daily. But after chemotherapy to treat bladder cancer in 2018, John has had recurrent kidney issues that sometime require hospitalization. The new Advanced Care at Home program, which is part of the Mayo Clinic Platform, got the 72-year-old former certified public accountant back on his feet sooner than he expected.
John Jolly, a former certified public accountant for the city of Jacksonville, Florida, had been a Mayo Clinic patient for almost 30 years before being diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2018. Though surgery and chemotherapy were successful, side effects from the treatment left the 72-year-old with kidney damage.
Over the past year, John had been hospitalized twice, and had three visits to the Emergency Department for high creatinine levels and other related issues. When he began to feel bad on July 4, he reached out to his primary care provider.
"He told me if I had certain symptoms to go to the ER, which meant I was going in the hospital," says John, noting that in the past, he had been admitted for several days and given infusions to stabilize his creatinine.
"I wasn't surprised. I kind of anticipated it," he says, joking that he had a large lunch with his wife, Letty, before going to the Emergency Department. "I was preparing myself for not getting any dinner."
After two days, John got a visit from Dr. Michael Maniaci, chair of the Division of Hospital Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Florida. "He said, 'How would you like to go home?' I said, 'Tell me what I need to do,'" says John.
John would be the inaugural patient of the new Advanced Care at Home program, which allows hospitalized patients to be released early and finish recuperating at home. The initiative is part of the Mayo Clinic Platform, which aims to improve health care using technology advances, insights derived from data and artificial intelligence.
John jumped at the chance.
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"I'm a guy who likes to walk, and when you're in the hospital, you have to have an attendant to walk with you. At home, I could walk anytime I wanted. And my wife was there, too. She's a good nurse," John says.
Medically Home, a Boston-based technology-enabled services company, is Mayo Clinic’s implementation partner for the program. Medically Home enables medical providers to shift advanced medical care to patients' homes safely. It offers an integrated technology platform and network of in-home services that allow care directed by Mayo Clinic physicians and providers.
Within a few hours, John was transported home, accompanied by paramedics and half a dozen health care technicians, along with an array of medical supplies, including a tablet that provided a secure, 24/7 connection to Mayo Clinic that complied with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.
"You're monitored as if you are in a hospital," John says, noting that three times a day, from his dining room, he would connect virtually with Dr. Maniaci and other members of his care team. They would check everything from his blood pressure to verifying that he took his medication. And if he had a concern ― even at 2 o'clock in the morning ― John simply pushed a button on the monitor.
Of course, his wife was grateful to have her husband of 50 years home, too. "I didn't want to be visiting the hospital during the pandemic, but there was no risk in this," she says. "It was first-class care at home."
"It's a wonderful program and gave me a lot of freedom," John says. "I could do my walks, and go outside and work in my garden."
John was discharged from the program on July 20. Today, despite the Florida heat, he continues walking and enjoying his retirement. Since his discharge, he has returned to the clinic for appointments with Primary Care and Nephrology. He will visit his oncologist in November.
Since John paved the way, more than a dozen patients have been part of the Advanced Care at Home program. In August, the program expanded. It is now offered at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.