Chapel Hill, NC – A new program from UNC Health enables many patients to leave the hospital earlier than possible and receive acute care at home. It is a program that will save the patient money and open up the much needed bed space in the hospital.
Local UNC TV legend Roy Underhill was recently a patient who benefited from the new program. His television show “The WoodWright Shop” is still on public television channels across the country.
“[It was] for 37 years. It’s one of the longest-running television programs, “said Underhill, who also teaches students how to use traditional woodworking tools as opposed to power tools.
His students come to his woodcarving school in Pittsboro, some from outside the United States. “In a next class we have a student from Norway who has seen all the shows,” said Underhill.
Less than a month ago, kidney infection robbed the 70-year-old of his strength. “It’s known as sepsis and is fatal,” Underhill said.
He was in the UNC emergency room 24 hours and spent another three days in acute care. However, Underhill was presented with a new option. He describes it this way: “They had a new program and they said I could be home and they would bring me hospital care!”
It’s called Advanced Care at Home, and it includes a home health monitoring system, backup power supplies and communication devices via a phone, and video via an iPad or even a button on a wristband.
“And so they actually see someone six to seven times a day, either virtually or in person,” said Ila Mapp, the program’s administrative director at UNC Health.
She says national data shows that patients recover more quickly on the program. “It allows patients to be more comfortable and in more control,” Mapp said.
She adds, “It’s the patients who aren’t quite sick enough to go to the hospital but can go home and still get the acute care they need.”
She says patients who receive home care are also less likely to get other hospital infections like MRSA or even COVID-19.
Underhill quickly accepted the home care offer. He said, “You wear your own clothes, you are in your own bed and only get the medication you need.”
Underhill points out that it’s also cheaper than staying in the hospital. “Releasing a hospital bed saves money, you get better faster. What’s not to like,” he said.
He’s also excited to be back in his own home as well as his wood construction school, sharing his old woodworking talents with eager students.