Telemedicine Helps Elderly Patients Stay in their Homes
Elderly patients with chronic health conditions who are discharged from the hospital and rehab facilities, with the help of technology and Telemedicine, are increasingly able to remain at home, avoiding depressing and expensive readmission.
Meet Rita, an elderly patient who suffers from congestive heart failure. She was a patient at both a rehab and hospital facility, but once she showed improved signs of health, was able to return home. The Center for Disease Control reports that approximately 27% of patients with congestive heart failure are readmitted to the hospital within thirty days of their release. Rita’s condition requires her to continue to update the doctor as to her vital signs. She can do this from the comfort of her own home, with the technology of Telemedicine devices. One medical service provider in Lewiston, Maine, provided Rita with a monitor, a scale, a blood pressure cuff and an oxygen meter that fits on the end of her finger, with the monitor connected to a phone jack, cell phone or tablet. She dutifully accesses the devices daily, and the data is transmitted to the medical service provider. “Our registered nurses are seeing their patients’ vital signs every day,” says Telehealth coordinator Shane Levasseur. “In addition, we can see vital sign trends. We could, for example, send a two-week trend of vital signs over to a patient’s cardiologist for an upcoming appointment. It’s really powerful for doctor to have that information. Now a lot of physicians who send referrals for home care say they want Telehealth.”
It’s all because of the ever increasing Telehealth and Telemedicine availability that patients like Rita, are able to receive regular treatment without hospitalization.