COVID-19 Patient Receives Home-based Hospital Care

November 13, 2021 | Health | Laurel Rogers

When Terri Miller took a COVID-19 test in order to travel to Maui, she got the surprise of her life. She tested positive, despite having no symptoms.

Convinced the result must be a false positive, she took another test. It, too, said she was positive. 

Terri was unvaccinated, as was her husband, David. “David and I had chosen not to get vaccinated, for a variety of different reasons,” she explains. 

Soon, the disease symptoms showed up: chills, fever, cough and body aches. Six days after her positive test, Terri was sick enough to have a telemedicine visit with a doctor. The doctor prescribed steroids, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and antivirals. The treatment provided relief, and in two days she felt much better.

But the relief was short-lived. Two days later, struggling to breathe, Terri went to the emergency department and was admitted to the hospital at Adventist Health Portland. “It’s a very isolated place to be in the hospital with COVID,” Terri says. Though she appreciated the "phenomenal" care she received, Terri found it difficult to be alone in a small hospital room, especially when she felt ill and afraid.

To Terri's relief, the hospital had another option: Adventist Health Hospital@Home. Through this program, she could benefit from the latest hospital technology and real-time monitoring from the comfort of home. Adventist Health offers the service in the Portland area and in five California communities, working with partner Medically Home, which supports home-based hospital care across the United States.

Terri’s Adventist Health team set up a temporary virtual hospital unit for her. Two providers visited her every day to draw blood and take X-rays. She had meals delivered, and a telemedicine provider was available on demand.

Terri said she enjoyed having more space and having her husband with her. 

“I am thankful that I ended up in the Adventist Health system,” Terri says. “They are on the forefront of medical awareness for COVID, and there are not enough exclamation points for me to express the caring, compassionate educational supportive team that is building this program!”

Terri spent about two weeks in the program while her lungs healed with the support of oxygen therapy. She continues to pray that no new symptoms appear and that she recovers completely. 

Given a second chance, Terri says she would do some things differently. “In reality, I probably would have chanced taking a vaccination, as I am now aware that the variants are going to continue to spread in the hosts that are not vaccinated,” she says.

For today, it’s enough to watch the progression of her lung capacity and hope the effects of COVID are temporary. Her advice to others is simple: “Be safe. Be well.”

Learn more about care opportunities at Adventist Health and find tips for staying healthy at adventisthealth.org/blog.