Patient Stories

Hear what patients are saying

Curtis Carlson

When Curtis Carlson started having back pain this spring, he tried to put off seeing a doctor. The COVID-19 pandemic was raging, his job at a transitional housing organization in Ukiah, California, was busier than ever amid the economic collapse and a hospital seemed like the last place he wanted to be.

But when he finally took himself to the emergency room and was diagnosed with a kidney infection, Carlson figured he would have no choice but to stay. Instead, his doctors told him about Adventist Health’s Hospital@Home program that would allow him to finish the rest of his hospital care at home, with a medical team monitoring him virtually around the clock and making in-person visits multiple times each day.

“I was blown away,” says Carlson, 49. When it became clear that staff would set up the equipment, which all fit on a TV tray, in Carlson’s home, and that he’d be able to communicate with his medical team via iPad, he was on board. “It was easy enough that I could use it, which was awesome,” says Carlson, who describes himself as “terrible” at technology.

Carlson’s experience was revolutionary, he says. After one night in the hospital, he was back at home with his wife and their four sons. “The biggest part for me was when I got home, seeing the look of relief on my 7-year-old’s face,” Carlson recalls. “While they were putting in the electrical wizardry, I asked him, ‘Were you worried about me?’ You could see him just crumble a little bit. He was definitely very happy Dad was home.”

Carlson had his stay covered by his state Medicaid plan, and says he would choose the at-home model again if he needed care in the future. After four days of treatment at home, his doctors determined he was ready to be discharged. But before the Adventist Health team moved forward, they helped Carlson find a primary care physician, transitioned his records and relevant information and made sure he scheduled a follow-up appointment. The tech team arrived to pick up the equipment and Carlson remained in place.

Hear From Our Patients

  • COVID-19 patient welcomes care through Adventist Health Hospital@Home

    Terri Miller

    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. Struggling to breathe two days later, Terri went to the emergency room 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, she 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, and two providers visited her every day to do blood draws 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 supported by oxygen therapy as her lungs healed. 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. “And I would have entered the hospital earlier.”

    For today, it’s enough to watch the progression of her lung capacity and hope the effects of COVID-19 are temporary. Her advice to others is simple: “Be safe. Be well.”

    Terri Miller

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