Eyes and Ears at Home


Franciscan Companies is expanding the TLC program into the Oneida area, as registered respiratory therapists play the role of physicians’ eyes and ears in patients’ homes. The respiratory therapy/medical equipment company’s new program called TLC (Teach, Learn, Comprehend) increases the education patients receive when discharged from the hospital. It helps them avoid readmission to the hospital because they are taking charge of their health.

“It’s a fresh new program that no other companies are offering,” says Joseph Nicoletti, RN, RRT, executive director of clinical services. “It takes our care to another level. We are not a drop-ship type of organization. While we are equipment-oriented, we  have a tremendous focus on patient education.”

The process is simple. With a referral from a physician, a respiratory therapist goes into the home, does an assessment, and then admits the patient into the TLC program—all at no charge. The patient receives ongoing support, education and guidance to manage their condition at home. They learn how to breathe and exercise correctly, the importance of taking their medications, how to read food labels and track their weight. The respiratory therapists also teach the patient what’s considered normal and what warrants a call to their doctor.

“We find that patients respond much better to this type of education when it’s done in the comfort of their homes,” Nicoletti says. “They go to the doctor and emergency room less frequently and their quality of life improves.”

The therapists relay concerns to the doctor early enough, so they can make changes in the patient’s care at home—including medication and activity level—to keep them out of the hospital. Rather than wait until a problem escalates, complications can be caught early.

The TLC program has proven especially helpful for people with CHF (congestive heart failure) and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder) because both conditions have very high incidences of readmission.

For more information or to refer a patient, call 315-458-3200.