Even before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic that has swept across the globe, remote health services were increasing in popularity to get relevant health information more quickly and conveniently. Providing effective care for an elderly loved one can be a challenge, so it is recommended to explore all available resources to achieve the best solutions.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth services employ the use of telecommunication technologies to deliver information about health-related services. It makes it very easy to maintain ongoing communication with a doctor or healthcare professional without having to leave the house.
The service is ideal for seniors struggling with mobility issues, or those that do not live in close proximity to their doctor or clinic. It is perfect for providing long distance advice, education, situational monitoring, and reminders for upcoming tasks or appointments.
How does Telehealth work?
The are a variety of platforms and avenues that can be used for informational exchange pertaining to a range of health issues and services. There are different types of telehealth, depending on the situation at hand.
This mode of telehealth communication deals with real-time virtual connection with a healthcare professional. It uses video conferencing technologies like Zoom, Skype, facetime, or Whatsapp to engage in in virtual meeting.
These communication platforms can be accessed with personal computer (PC) or a mobile device, like a smartphone or tablet, depending on your preference.
If there is no need to speak to a healthcare professional directly, asynchronous telehealth avenues are a great way to stay informed. An excellent example of this type of telehealth communication is email. Healthcare specialists can communicate with multiple patients simultaneously about important news, and patients can access this information at their own convenience.
For seniors that require ongoing attention due to chronic health concerns, Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) provides a practical solution. Through the implementation of cameras and devices used to track vital signs through special sensors, doctors can monitor patient progress and status remotely.
Benefits of Telehealth Services for Seniors
There are an array of benefits older adults can take advantage of by using telehealth communication technology. Some practical advantages include:
- Reduced travel
- Minimized risk of infection
- Reduced risk of hospital readmission
- Better access to specialists
- Assistance for caregivers
- Reduced costs
For many seniors, the less time spent traveling to appointments and health checkups, the better. Video conferencing allows for face to face communication, but cuts out the need for travel on both sides. This is hugely beneficial for seniors with mobility issues, inability to drive, or no desire to visit clinics or hospitals.
Minimized Risk of Infection
Visiting clinics or hospitals in person causes a greater exposure to potentially infectious viruses and illness. By avoiding unnecessary trips to these places, older adults thereby reduce the risk of contracting an infection or disease.
Reduced Risk of Hospital Readmission
Many seniors, who are released from the hospital after surgery or another medical procedure, find themselves being readmitted due to complications or ineffectual healing.
Telehealth services can help reduce the need for hospital readmission by staying in close contact through communication technologies. Upon hospital discharge, there are always follow up practices that need to be adhered to. This may include rehabilitative exercises, medications, or things of that nature.
Virtual monitoring allows doctors to keep a close eye on patients, and allows patients to easily check in with any questions or concerns.
Better Access to Specialists
Connecting remotely to healthcare specialists means you are not limited to what is available in your locality. Telehealth services break down geographical barriers to grant access to the right knowledge and services to deal specific health conditions.
Assistance for Caregivers
Telehealth services can be beneficial to caregivers in a few different ways. For one, they can help shed some light on any issues caregivers may be experiencing, with professional advice. This may come in the form of effective home care practices, or tips on managing a particular illness or injury.
Caregivers are often the ones accompanying seniors to their medical appointments, so it reduces the need for caregiver travel as well. This allows for more time to focus on providing effective care and support.
Telehealth services provide an effective means for reducing expenses for everyone involved. Not only do they cut out travel expenses to physical appointments, the also cut down on operational expenses for an overburdened public health system.
Telehealth offers a cost-effective, convenient, and practical means to stay on top of health status and improvement, when a physical examination is not necessary.