Home-based care program improves customers' quality of life

By Bo Jungmayer
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Linda being examined by her Landmark provider.

Photo: Linda being examined by her Landmark Health provider. Photo by Alex Gunnoe.

Twenty-two pills a day is a lot. One for cholesterol, another for allergies, another to help with the side effects of the first drug.

For many over the age of 63, like Linda Waterman, this is a common ritual. But it’s important to monitor the delicate interactions of each drug. For Linda, without someone looking for these interactions, her 22 daily pills could cause harmful, if not deadly, consequences.

This is where Landmark Health comes in. This home-based care program, provided by Premera Blue Cross, keeps customers like Linda with chronic conditions feeling healthy, out of the hospital and in charge of their health. The program provides 24/7 support for these customers.

Landmark providers, like Mary Johann, work in collaboration with patients’ primary care providers to set up regular appointments and track the patients’ medical journey. Mary has scheduled visits with Linda every three months, which gives her the time necessary to understand and support her health goals. If there is any urgent needs, appointments can be made sooner. This collaboration between the Landmark provider and the patient’s primary care provider means Mary gets the full picture of Linda’s medical history and can offer personalized care.

Through their health plan benefits, most customers don’t even have a copay after a Landmark appointment. This allows patients to call “early and often” before small problems become big issues, according to Mary.

Too many pills

During one visit from Mary, Linda complained about continuous fatigue. Mary noticed that she was taking a full list of medications so she offered to have a Landmark pharmacist look at her prescriptions for any drug interactions that might be causing this fatigue.

Through this review, they identified that some of the medications did have negative chemical interactions, and Linda was able to get her medications adjusted to counteract the side effects, helping alleviate her fatigue.

These Landmark in-home visits have allowed Linda care and attention she previously traveled all the way to Seattle to get. Rather than every doctor’s appointment being a 20-minute drive, or longer due to traffic, from Linda’s home in Everett, Wash., Landmark brings a medical expert to her front door.

Linda’s mindset used to be “I’ll be better tomorrow. I’ll just wait.” This approach meant going to the ER every time her condition flared up, rather than working to prevent those incidents.

With Landmark’s home-based appointments, Mary has helped Linda switch to a more proactive mindset. Together, they are catching small issues and treating them before they turn into serious medical conditions.

Landmark MaryA trusted friend

Through the one-on-one, in-person visits, Linda and Mary have created a special bond. Linda, a Vietnam War veteran and retired nurse, admits that she can be a difficult patient. She attributes it to her life as a nurse, saying that nurses and doctors make the worst patients since they tend to self-diagnose.

Mary’s undivided attention during these visits helped Linda trust in Mary’s medical expertise, allowing for open dialogue on Linda’s needs and the help she is willing to accept.

Working with Mary has improved Linda’s quality of life; she is now mobile, achieved her personal goal of losing weight and has a trusted relationship with someone she can call if an issue arises.

In addition, Linda has returned to an activity that she loved; riding her motorcycle with her husband.

"You’re going to find that retired nurses don’t trust anybody,” said Linda. “I trust her with my life.”

Editor’s note: On behalf of Premera Blue Cross, Landmark Health is an independent company which provides the home-base care for our customers.

Bo Jungmayer is in Corporate Communications at Premera Blue Cross.

Jungmayer-blog


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