ADDISON, Texas — Dr. Katie Jarvis has enough experience talking with hospital patients to know that there is a serious gap in information on nursing homes. It is the reason she and her team at Bed Beacon in Addison have devised a software platform to help patients.
The platform, developed in late 2018, is a hub for information on nursing homes and its available beds.
"They're at a nursing home because they can't mobilize themselves. They really have to rely on someone else," Jarvis said.
The platform is launching at a time when Hurricane Dorian bears down on the Florida gulf coast. Jarvis says the application is also intended for times outside of a disaster. In this case, the platform collects information on available nursing home beds at nursing homes in counties facing evacuations.
Jarvis says the application will allow caregivers to see where available beds are without having to scramble at the last minute.
"To evacuate a few counties along the coast of Florida requires the whole state of Florida. It's a massive task," Jarvis said.
On Monday, calls to homes in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia were made to find available beds. The data is separated into criteria based on factors like the type of care, type of insurance and even distance.
Jarvis is hopeful this source connects hospitals and nursing homes, and eventually assisted living, home health, inpatient psychiatry, hospice and respite care. Jarvis said the current nursing occupancy rate across the country is 83%.
"In Hurricane Katrina, we had 400 to 500 patients who died 90 days after the hurricane unexpectedly," she said.
"We dream of a time when all of these facilities are seamlessly connected and this information is available at a single finger-click. As you know, we are not charging for our Hurricane Dorian relief efforts. This is our commitment to paying it forward," Jarvis wrote in an email to WFAA.
Bed Beacon is looking for more volunteers to help produce this data. They encourage volunteers, health facilities, or State Operations Centers to e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.