COLORADO SPRINGS — Medical students like Danielle Davis is already making their mark in the medical field.
“About every two weeks, I get a list from Dr. Becerra of patients to contact. And then we have a survey that has preset questions that we ask every single patient,” said Davis, a third-year medical student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Colorado Springs.
Davis is part of a UCHealth’s COVID-19 discharge project with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Colorado Springs, gathering data from discharged patients who were hospitalized for coronavirus, and tracking the process of their recovery.
“Colorado Springs branch third-year medical students are the core of the project. Together, we designed a telephone survey and they are reviewing patients’ charts and then calling the patients at home multiple times until a resolution of their symptoms,” said Renna Becerra, MD, Physician, Hospital Medicine for UCHealth.
Davis says she’s had patients talk about feelings of loneliness and isolation once they got home, and others reporting they gained a new outlook on life, calling it a spiritual journey.
“I think it reminds of us of what patients really go through when they had these life-changing experiences with the disease. It reminds us of the empathy and the human connection that’s necessary in order to fully support patients so that they can’t achieve their optimal health outcomes,” Davis said.
UCHealth says the goal of this project is to improve their care and treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Doctors say they’re getting information they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
“We’re learning that a lot of patients were struggling a lot with anxiety, and depression, and loneliness after being discharged from the hospital. And they still, unfortunately, have both the emotional impact of great fear of returning to their families and the community. And so, we actually were able to reach out to them with resources for supporting their mental health,” said Robert Lam, MD, emergency physician for UCHealth.
“It’s data and information from projects like this, is really going to shake how we treat and approach COVID-19 in the future,” Davis said.
“The hospital treatment team, we take care of our patients during their worse COVID days, and patients probably don’t realize this, but after a discharge, we carry their stories with us. And we worry about them. We wonder how they’re doing and what we could have done better,” Becerra said.
UCHealth says so far, more than 125 patients across the Pikes Peak region have taken part in the survey.