Receiving quality care at the comfort of home can make all the difference to the wellbeing of a patient. Having choice and flexibility over where they can receive treatment provides patients a sort of relief and a sense of control. It helps to avoid acquired infections common to medical facilities, prevent delirium and functional deterioration in older patients, and helps them in alleviating their levels of stress while fast-tracking the process of their recovery. Thus, to offer an efficient treatment to patients while respecting their choices, convenience, and autonomy, Dr. Ron Sabar, family medicine and palliative medicine specialist, founded Sabar Health – Home Hospital in Israel in 2005. The vision was to offer the right care at the right time and by the right professional at home while saving the need for hospitalization for adverse events.
At first, the service was paid for by patients and families but since 2010, it’s completely covered by Israel’s four Health Management Funds (HMOs). In 2012, Sabar Health widened its vision to become a pioneer and the nation’s most comprehensive Hospital at Home service. It added new home-hospital wards to its system, enhanced its services, and soon became the fourth largest hospital in the nation with more than 1000 home-hospitalized patients under its care.
Revolutionizing the Healthcare Landscape in Israel
The journey to success was not easy for Sabar Health. There were several roadblocks along the way. But it navigated all the challenges with a strong commitment to offering quality care and created a whole new category of health care service, which is currently prominent in many countries, including the US.
“Over the years, Sabar Health has made a profound impact on the health care system in Israel, where there are no longer questions of why Hospital at Home is the future but rather what and how the service should look like,” says Dr. Sabar.
With its pursuit of making the world healthier and happier, Sabar Health has received many awards and recognition, including a Certificate of Appreciation from Israel’s Social Research and Development Incubator, for Sabar Health’s significant contribution in pioneering and developing solutions within the community for elderly and terminal patients, and in increasing awareness to end-of-life care among the medical community and the general public. Last year, the organization was accredited by the Israel National Medical Association as an approved ward for specializing in palliative medicine.
“This marks the beginning of the next-phase of Sabar Health’s vision, which is to transform medical education in Israel, to include home-based medicine as part of the curriculum for medical students, interns and residents so they can be better prepared for the future of health care,” asserts Dr. Sabar.
Providing Four Home-Hospital Wards
Offering a wide range of Hospital at Home services, Sabar Health has four active home hospital wards—home hospice and palliative care, home acute rehabilitation, home acute care and internal medicine, and home psychiatry. The home hospice and palliative care department is designed for patients coping with terminal illnesses in the final stages. The treatment focuses on offering palliative care, symptom management, psychosocial and spiritual well-being. Each patient is allocated with a physician, a nurse, and a social worker who are dedicated to offering emotional and social support for the patients and their families. It enables the patients to spend the last period of their life surrounded by their loved ones, in their own bed.
The home acute rehabilitation department of Sabar Health offers treatments for multidisciplinary post-hospitalization rehabilitation. In this case, a multidisciplinary team is assigned to patients to help them return to their daily routine as easily and quickly as possible.
“The rehabilitation process in the real-life setting of the patients maximizes its efficacy and has proven to be shorter in duration compared to institutional rehabilitation,” elucidates Dr. Sabar.
Patients with an acute condition, complex wounds, or chronic diseases often need short term home-hospitalization. Thus, to serve such patients, Sabar Health has the home acute care and internal medicine department.
It also has a home psychiatry department dedicated to providing an intense care service for mental health patients. Patients with an acute psychotic episode or low adherence to treatment are at a higher risk of relapse. Therefore, the Sabar Health team takes full medical responsibility for such patients, and relentlessly works to help them get back to their daily routine. This enables the organization to shorten the institutional hospitalization and prevent the “revolving door” of recurring hospitalization. All the medical records of each Sabar Health patient are registered, managed, and stored on a proprietary cloud-based EMR to make it accessible to all teams on any device with internet access. Sabar Health also uses cutting-edge technologies to remotely monitor and communicate with patients and families, and to enable teams spread across the country to communicate and consult each other in real-time.
Focusing on Creating an Empowered Team
Sabar Health believes that having a strong and dedicated team who is ready to go the extra mile for patient care is essential for leading an organization towards success. Thus, it emphasizes on hiring and selecting the right candidates to build a strong team. While hiring a new candidate, it always looks for five essential traits— commitment to help people, passion for the job, team player skills, hard work and diligence, and reliability. All these traits reflect the core values of Sabar Health, that are hinged on providing the best, most comprehensive, and compassionate care, whilst respecting people’s choices and beliefs.
“Keeping these values as the cornerstone, the organization hires the best teams, educates them continuously, and provides them with the best organizational infrastructure to help them match the expectations and needs of the patients,” says Dr. Itamar Offer, Sabar Health’s CEO, a Pediatrician and Healthcare Management specialist. “We also focus on learning and investigating through research and maintaining excellent professional relationships with all stakeholders such as payers, regulators, hospitals, and the public to maintain a high level of patient care”.
Continues Offering Patient-Centered Care
Since its inception, Sabar Health has been rigorously working to make healthcare accessible throughout the country, regardless of the age of the patient or the nature of their illness. Moving ahead, it aims to continue its patient-centered care approach while taking initiatives to enhance its services. To further advance the hospital at home model and ecosystem, Dr. Offer has founded the WHAHC – World Hospital At Home Congress which focuses on sharing experiences and best-practices regarding the hospital at home. Last year, it organized the 1st WHAHC conference in Madrid which gathered more than 430 professionals from 39 countries. Considering the success of the event, now, it is planning for the next WHAHC conference in Vienna in April 2021.