David Gammaitoni has a variety of medical issues that can make hospitalization a distinct possibility at all times. But thanks to the Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) program started by Alton Memorial Hospital in early 2021, the Godfrey resident is finding it a little easier to remain at home.
“Dr. John Pargulski (a cardiologist on staff at AMH) referred us to this program,” said David’s wife, Mary. “There are just so many things that David has, Dr. Pargulski thought that he would be the perfect candidate.”
So much so that while the typical MIH patient is in the program for a month, Gammaitoni had two months’ worth of visits to his home from Layla Simons and Shanena Brooks, paramedics with Alton Memorial’s EMS team.
“They were wonderful,” said Mary Gammaitoni, who sounds ready to add Simons and Brooks to the four children that she and David already have in their blended family. “It got to be where we were looking forward to seeing them each time. We learned a lot about things that are helping us with David’s health.”
The MIH program – the only such hospital-based EMS program in this part of the state -- is completely free of charge to patients, and is referral-based by providers to ensure that only chronically ill, high-risk patients are enrolled. The program aims to bring quality care directly to the patient by providing care in the patient’s home, as opposed to the patient traveling to a health care setting.
“The MIH program gives the EMS department the ability to assist patients in a greater capacity with their day-to-day health needs, while also building mutual relationships of trust and security,” said Jason Bowman, manager of AMH EMS. “Our paramedics are honored to be able to serve the community and provide additional resources to promote a healthier lifestyle. Layla and Shanena were a perfect fit for the Gammaitonis.”
“It was a pleasure helping the Gammaitonis,” Brooks said. “They were a perfect example of what we are trying to do in this program -- reaching people in their homes in an effort to reduce hospital readmissions.”
Mary read off a laundry list of David’s various conditions, starting with quadruple bypass in 2015, several urinary tract infections, memory issues and low blood pressure.
“He was in the hospital several times just this spring,” Mary said. “He even went in right after Layla and Shanena had started coming.”
The MIH visits were from late March until late May, and things have held steady since then.
“They went over all our medications and did a safety check of the home because David is a fall risk,” Mary said. “But the best thing about Layla and Shanena is that they are so encouraging to us. You just need to hear that a lot. And they would offer to help with reordering and even picking up medications, check for swelling and open wounds – just so many things that I would consider going the extra mile.”
Two of their four children live in the area, but the extra help is very much appreciated by the Gammaitonis.
“I would highly recommend this program to anyone who needs it,” Mary said. “And I could see where it would be especially helpful to anyone with limited family members in the area. And if you can get Layla and Shanena, that’s even better.”
Pictured above: Shanena Brooks, a paramedic with Alton Memorial Hospital’s EMS team, checks the vitals of David Gammaitoni at his Godfrey home.