Telemedicine services bring several important benefits to nursing and residential care homes, helping overcome the difficulties around visits to traditional healthcare settings.
It’s a relatively common occurrence for care home residents to be unwell or to have an injury caused by a fall, often during the night. A prospective trip to the local emergency department (ED) poses issues for all parties, as ED visits can be an unsettling experience for care home residents.
Staff have to weigh the decision over whether the resident should travel in an ambulance on their own, or be accompanied by a staff member. If a staff member accompanies the resident, this adds extra pressure on staff remaining in the care home. There may be other challenges – such as if the resident has dementia – which only add to the distress of an ED visit and can further impact the resident’s condition.
Fast forward to a scenario where Immedicare’s telemedicine services are available, and the situation is transformed. The ability to access clinical support immediately via a high quality video link to Immedicare’s team, provides reassurance – and helps establish whether a hospital visit is indeed required. If it is, it can be done in a planned way, bypassing the ED and taking the resident directly to the acute medical unit.
While the resident is being transferred their patient record can be sourced, and the medical team briefed. Appropriate, considered decisions can be made which can often lead to early discharge, with the knowledge that the resident is returning to an environment supported with telemedicine services and facilities. Telemedicine provision also encompasses collaboration with health and social care services.
The ability to undertake care consultations via video alleviates staffing pressures, and allows the right care to be delivered at the right time – without removing the resident from their familiar home.
Telemedicine services give the entire staff team confidence, knowing that they have rapid access to clinical support at any time. Similarly, Immedicare’s services are an important source of reassurance for residents and their families.
Many care homes do not have access to patient medical records. However, the telemedicine team, with the patients consent, are able to see their electronic patient record and compare it with the care record held by the nursing or residential care home, enabling a full discussion of the patient’s history and care plan.
Less obvious but equally valuable advantages of telemedicine services, include the fact that access to a secondary care nursing team can help develop and up-skill care home staff. Immedicare can also link care homes to other services such as local hospices, so that palliative advice and care can be delivered over a video link.