In recent years, the use of Telehealth has been increasing in the industry. It has been heavily promoted during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic when strict lock-downs were imposed to keep volatile populations safe. In Australia, around 40 million telehealth consultations were recorded in 2020 alone, and it is expected to increase in numbers in the next few years as the world recovers from the pandemic.
Doctor’s appointments usually consist of a visit to the clinic or the hospital and face-to-face consultations. But approximately 7 million Australians live in locations that don’t have high-quality healthcare providers such as rural and remote areas. For older Australians and people with disabilities, living outside the city, far away from hospitals that provide the best care, presents unique challenges.
So what is Telehealth?
Telehealth technology brings healthcare to you when you want it and where you want it. Telehealth uses digital communications tools, such as video call and mobile devices, to access health care services remotely and manage your health care. This technology lets you discuss your health conditions and schedule appointments with your doctors without traveling to a clinic or hospital. This is also most beneficial for the elderly who cannot travel to hospitals because of the risk of injuries and lack of assistance.
The main goals of using Telehealth include:
- Making health care more accessible to people who live in rural or remote locations.
- To provide services with convenience for people with limited mobility, time and transportation.
- Improve communication and collaboration of care among health care practitioners and patients/residents.
- Encourage and support for self-management of health care.
Though there are health services that still need to happen in a hospital, there are several ways in which Telehealth can support our healthcare needs, such as:
- Routine medical check-ups
- Updating of resident medication charts with prescriptions sent electronically to pharmacies
- Reviewing goals of care
- Discussions on Advance Care Directives (which can be completed and signed with the use of email or fax when these discussions occur via Telehealth)
- Mental health consultation and counseling
Here are a few examples of how your facility can also utilise Telehealth for your residents.
Online Doctor’s Consultation
A resident can use a mobile phone or tablet to schedule appointments, message your physician and communicate with them using videoconferencing tools. These appointments enable you to receive care from your doctor when a consultation doesn’t require an in-person visit.
The hospital or a nurse practitioner may contact you for more details regarding your health history and other information about your check-ups to further evaluate your concern.
The aged care facility needs to make sure that a staff member is present with the resident to assist them in navigating through their mobile devices, such as connecting to the internet and logging in to the video conference meeting. This ensures a clear communication line between the resident and the doctor to avoid any confusion or misinformation during the consultation.
Remote monitoring devices for Aged Care
To encourage self-management in one’s health, various technologies enable a resident to coordinate with a doctor or health care team to monitor their health remotely; this includes:
- Mobile applications or Web-based platforms where residents or their carers can upload information about their health, such as blood pressure, sugar level or oxygen level
- Wearable Health trackers that can record blood pressure, number of steps taken and heart rate
- Home monitoring devices for older people to help reduce the risk of falls or injuries that they can also use as reminders
Healthcare Teams Communication
The emergence of Telehealth is not only limited to improving and providing care for people, but it is also beneficial for healthcare teams to collaborate with other specialists for questions and discussions regarding their resident’s diagnosis.
This prevents unnecessary waiting time for second opinions from other doctor’s about your health conditions and eliminates unnecessary travel to different hospitals. There are available platforms where specialists can view a resident’s medical records, case notes from other carers or lifestyle managers to further understand their current health condition.
Healthcare Apps for Aged Care Residents
Telehealth also includes encouraging clients to use personal healthcare apps to help them manage and organise their health records in digital storage.
- Saving or storing of previous healthcare records
- Record vital signs for self-management support and to guide your physicians during check-ups
- Save a list of medications or treatments
- Schedule reminders for medication and follow up medical check-ups
- Lifestyle and Health Goal Management
READ MORE: The 4 Best Mobile Applications For The Elderly
Integrate Telehealth in your Retirement Village
At CareVision, we are helping retirement villages, aged care organisations and home care assistance to utilise Telehealth and its different capabilities for the residents and improve their quality of life.
To know more about CareVision, organise a free demo or contact us here.