Telehealth for Seniors: The Next Generation of Care

Doctor typing a text message on his smartphoneAccording to the Census Bureau, “By 2030, more than 20 percent of U.S. residents are projected to be aged 65 and over, compared with 13 percent in 2010 and 9.8 percent in 1970.” As the number of seniors increase as well as chronic diseases, it’s crucial for the healthcare system to continue moving towards technological solutions for care.

When we think of the future of care, it tends to play out in the setting of high-tech hospitals with specialized machines, but what about the other end of the spectrum?

Right now there is a transformation happening, yet it is still in its infancy. Healthcare organizations are realizing the real value of telehealth, which can be seen by this new study showing that 52 percent of hospitals are using remote technologies—and that is only expected to increase.

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Regarding specifically senior care, there are numerous benefits to using telehealth solutions for mobility and autonomy.

First, if seniors are able to receive care in their homes or wherever they are, especially when their medical conditions make mobility difficult, it creates relief for them and their caretakers. An example of this is for a senior with a family caregiver who would need to take time off work to transport them to the hospital.

Beyond that, if seniors are able to access these solutions at home, it gives them a greater sense of autonomy, as it can extend the time in at-home care. For example, for a senior who is experiencing heart failure or diabetes and needs regular appointments, they can bypass living in a care facility because the need for constant checkups can be met at home.

Two solutions that are making these types of benefits more plausible are remote bedside evaluations and monitoring.

The two solutions go hand-in-hand in that doctors can use remote monitoring on an ongoing basis before remote check-in appointments with patients. A few examples of how remote monitoring can work include telephone calls, email and texts for communications, or the use of an actual remote monitoring system, such as one that sends data regarding blood sugar levels, heart rate and blood pressure directly to the physician before an appointment.

This is where the remote evaluations come in. Different communications technologies, like video chat, can be an excellent way for doctors to conduct regular checkups with patients, where they can review any information they find from remote monitoring and discuss it in real-time. These conversations also provide time for patients to share new concerns or problems that have risen.

It is apparent that new care solutions are necessary as the population continues to age and more diseases come to the forefront, but these solutions do not have to make patient care and treatment a hassle. Today’s telehealth solutions are changing the ways we think about care across the board and can really change the game for seniors—extending their time spent at home.

Read More: Why Continuing Communication Matters →


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