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Avera Medical Minute: Medical team supports patients recovering from COVID at home

Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 10:41 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - When Jackie Pendergraft was diagnosed with COVID-19, she was encircled by those who cared for her.

“I just can’t say enough good about my friends, my co-workers, because everybody was very scared for me,” said Pendergraft.

Although she was alone at home, she felt loved.

“They would just put something on my deck, let me know that they brought it,” said Pendergraft.

And more support came from Avera at Home.

“I would call them my guardian angels, because they checked with me daily,” said Pendergraft.

Rhonda Wiering with Avera at Home says Jackie was monitored for more than COVID-19. Diabetes and asthma conditions were part of her care.

“We help them either stay at home help them monitor their symptoms, help them decide what, if, and when they needed to go to the hospital,” said Wiering.

On the phone with patients, Avera Case Manager Darcy Purdy explains the Avera at Home kit, and how to use it.

“They will receive a tablet, blood pressure cuff, a scale, and a pulse oximeter. And then when they check their vitals, it will automatically flow over into the programs that nurses can monitor,” said Purdy.

The connection is much more than watching their symptoms, it’s an emotional lifeline.

“It’s scary to get COVID, and one of the biggest things, and biggest surprises of our program is the reassurance that our nurses give our patients every single day,” said Wiering.

“It was something that you could talk to that nurse about and tell them exactly what you were going through because they knew,” said Pendergraft.

The Avera at Home team handles the unique needs of each patient, while they too are working from home to stay safe.

“You’re doing admissions, making phone calls. A lot of our phone calls we’re making to the clinics, to home medical equipment, to get oxygen, maybe pharmacies to get medication, social workers to help with financial concerns, and then, unfortunately, I would say, we do make phone calls to 911 as well, just to get those patients to the ER that need to be seen right away,” said Purdy.

Now that she’s feeling better, Jackie hasn’t forgotten the reassuring help that came from Avera at Home.

“A sincere thank you. Because it was very, very hard. It really was,” said Pendergraft.

“That simple phone call makes a huge difference. This journey’s not over with and we want to be there for them,” said Wiering.

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