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COVID-19 Near-Death Survivor Thanks Hospital-At-Home Program For Recovery

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- With COVID-19 cases rising, and flu season officially here, a local program is freeing up beds by discharging patients earlier or helping them avoid the hospital altogether. An unvaccinated coronavirus survivor who recently got to go home early after a near-death experience is speaking out.

Jeff Koesling took this picture in the ICU thinking it may the last photo of him alive.

"They came in and (my doctor) held my hand and he said, 'I'm not going to sugarcoat this,'" said Koesling. "'We cant do anymore for you. You're down to 80 on your stats. It's not looking good.'"

Koesling says the isolation of the hospital was just as tough as the physical fight to survive.

"I'm scared, I'm crying. I said, 'Can you call my wife and tell her? I can't do that,'" said Koesling.

But things turned around, and after 15 days Koesling went home.

Health Partners Community paramedic Jacob Capistrant took it from there.

"With Jeff's case he was so happy to be at home," said Capistrant. "He was on oxygen when we was home."

Community paramedics don't show up at homes in ambulances. They go from home to home throughout the day in regular vehicles equipped with things to check vitals, do lab work, run IVS or administer medications.

The Health Partners Hospital at Home program got Koesling home a week early. Capistrant kept an eye on his oxygen, vitals and conferenced virtually with his doctor, who says freeing up extra hospital beds is crucial.

"There have been situations where patients have avoided the hospital altogether," said Dr. Demetri Andrisani a hospitalist at Regions Hospital who cared for Koesling virtually through the Hospital at Home program. "All of the hospitals are slammed, absolutely slammed with patients. And if we can open up a bed for another patient while also providing the high level of care that we provide in the Hospital at Home, man, that's a win-win."

A win-win that helps the healing with those at-home comforts and a safety blanket of hospital-like care.

"I think the Health Partners Hospital at Home program has made healing better," said Capistrant.

"There was nothing better than to be at home with your family and just piece of mind," said Koesling.

The program is for patients discharged from certain Health Partners hospitals.

Since the program started more than 260 patients have participated, including 99 recovering from COVID-19. There is a criteria for qualification, but Andrisani says patients with heart issues, COVID-19 and simple infections have done well with it.

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