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Atrium Health Navicent Expands Virtual Care to Support Infants’ Healthy Weight Gain

Get Growing Program” allows caregivers to monitor infants’ weight after hospital discharge

Atrium Health Navicent has expanded its virtual care delivery system to include a new “Get Growing” program to support infants’ healthy weight gain after hospital discharge. Since 2021, patients diagnosed with COVID-19 have been able to receive hospital-level treatment in the comfort of their own homes thanks to the health system’s innovative Hospital at Home virtual care delivery system. Earlier this year, the program expanded to include pediatric patients.

The Get Growing service of the Pediatric Hospital at Home program launched in March. Babies treated in the neonatal intensive care unit (NNICU) and pediatric inpatient units at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital are referred to the program by medical providers if there’s a need for close follow-up to ensure healthy weight gain at home.

Using a scale provided by the Pediatric Hospital at Home program, caregivers weigh their infants daily and provide information to the Hospital at Home care team via a phone call or text message. A Hospital at Home teammate performs follow-up care until babies establish care with a pediatric gastroenterology specialist.

“We found that infants needing tube feedings at home after discharge from the hospital were often ‘failing to thrive’ by the time they were seen at a follow up appointment with a pediatric gastroenterology specialist,” said Allison Butler, a nurse practitioner who provides care through Hospital at Home. “Through no fault of their own, caregivers were following instructions for feeding, but if the infants were spitting up or they were unsure how to mix the formula, the babies might have lost weight by the time they had their follow-up appointment. Using the provided scales, caregivers can weigh babies daily and feeding challenges can be addressed more quickly.”

Since the program began in March, all infants sent home with scales who have followed up with a gastroenterology specialist after hospital discharge have experienced significant weight gain.

“Caregivers with babies in the Get Growing program have received assistance in finding substitute formulas and support in ensuring formula is prepared correctly so these children can have a healthy start at life and thrive,” said Dr. Joanne Kennedy, medical director for the Pediatric Hospital at Home program and an Atrium Health Navicent pediatric hospitalist. “It’s helpful for families to know they have 24/7 access to a medical provider while participating in the program and rewarding for us to be able to answer caregivers’ questions and calm their fears.”

More about Hospital at Home

Although first launched as a program to provide treatment for COVID-19, Hospital at Home has expanded to treat adult and pediatric patients with multiple health needs while allowing them to receive regular monitoring of symptoms and vital signs at home. Patients are referred to the program via inpatient and emergency room physician referral. Patients must have telephone access. As part of the program, the patient — or their caregiver — monitors and logs vital signs and participates in check-in calls with nurses and a physician, as needed. Patients may also access a 24/7 support line for any questions about their health. Through the virtual care delivery system, care providers can spot any trends or worsening symptoms and provide early intervention, if needed, before an emergency occurs.

To find a doctor, visit navicenthealth.org and click “Find a Doctor.”

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.