With an aging population and uncertain times, it’s important for seniors to feel safe and comfortable in their own homes. We look at how telehealth and a personal emergency response system (PERs) could help manage healthcare in the home.
In this article:
Challenges Faced by Seniors in the Home
When asked, most seniors prefer to live in their own homes. Living independently can be great for maintaining a sense of community and staying close to family. However, it raises challenges when facing illness or mobility issues.
As our population lives longer, we need to ensure that people can live independently and maintain a good healthcare standard.
According to the U.S.Census Bureau, there were more than 54 million U.S. residents 65 years and older on July 1, 2019.
While many in their 60’s are fit and active, the health risks increase from 65 years+.
Common issues in the home for older people include:
- Falls:1 in 4 American’s over 65 will experience a fall that requires hospitalization.
- Poor eyesight puts seniors at a greater risk of falling.
- Hearing loss and its associated risks.
- Not managing health issues.
- No nearby friend or family member who can check in daily or weekly.
- Poor access to healthcare; unable to leave home unassisted.
- Poor access to transport to access healthcare services.
Personal Emergency Response System (PERs)
A personal emergency response system can provide 24-hour monitoring and immediate response.
While PERs are important in emergency situations, technology has improved the ability to monitor health from your home. The modern approach to home-based healthcare is to combine Telehealth with PERs.
By monitoring your health and keeping regular doctor’s appointments from your home, you are less likely to experience a fall or health emergency. If you do feel unwell or fall, your doctor has a record of your recent condition and a personal emergency response system to ensure help is on its way.
Telehealth can improve self-monitoring of health and lessen visits to the ER. It allows the ongoing monitoring of health to avoid those with chronic illness from only seeing ER doctors when they are seriously ill.
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth is the delivery of health-related services and information through electronic information technologies. It can deliver preventative, promotive, and curative medical services.
It allows health professionals to provide the following services remotely:
- Provide a certain level of care
- Dispense medical advice
- Offer reminders
- Educate patients
- Provides certain medical interventions
- Monitor patient progress
- Facilitate hospital admissions
Why Telehealth Works
- It can reduce the chance of re-admission after a hospital stays for a serious condition such as heart failure. Hospitals are now expanding the monitoring programs of cardiac patients at home.
- Telehealth and PERs also reduce the need for, or frequency of, in-house healthcare by a nurse or care assistant.
- With modern smartphones, it’s now possible to use apps to track your health or digitally reach health goals. This digital record allows your doctor to see a clear track record of your day to day condition. This can include heart rate and blood pressure.
- Telehealth allows the flexibility of speaking remotely to a doctor from the comfort and safety of home.
Telehealth and COVID19
Telehealth services such as telemedicine can assist you if you’re concerned about visiting your doctor during COVID19 and Flu season.
By accessing a remote appointment, you can speak to a doctor from the comfort of your own home at a time that suits you.
If you do start showing symptoms of Covid19, stay at home and self-isolate, even if you only have mild symptoms. Separate yourself as much as possible from others. Cover your nose and mouth with a cloth mask when in contact with anyone.
Monitor your symptoms and contact your healthcare provider if you have any concerns. They can assess your symptoms and determine what course of action to take.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the branch of telehealth. It allows you to arrange a virtual appointment with a doctor. Getting started with telemedicine usually involves three basic steps:
- Signing up for the telemedicine service. You may be asked to provide basic information about yourself, such as your name, age, gender, and contact information.
- Booking an appointment. This usually involves choosing a date and time slot for your video chat appointment.
- Virtual meeting with a doctor. The telemedicine provider should inform you about the basic applications you will need for your virtual meeting.
With the internet, doctors aren’t limited to talking to their patients, but they can also see them. Telehealth services can be more affordable than regular medical services. In fact, you don’t need medical insurance to use telemedicine. Learn more about telemedicine and insurance here.
We all strive to live a healthy, independent life. The combination of A Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) and telehealth can allow us to enjoy our homes and improve our long-term health.
Do you have any questions about telehealth services? Let us know in the comments section below.