How can Nursing Homes benefit from Telemedicine Solutions?
According to the UN’s World Social Report 2023; “The world’s population is aging at a faster rate than ever before!” National News.com, a renowned portal that shares international news, stated that “there were around 761 million people aged 65+ years in the year 2021. This number is expected to reach 1.6 billion by the year 2050.”
It has also been observed that the life expectancy of modern-day individuals is much higher than before; thanks to the technological advancements in the field of medicine. With the increase in the number of elderly people and life expectancy; the demand for geriatric care is on the rise. Geriatric care refers to elderly care in residential care facilities and nursing homes. It’s important to provide a good quality of life to senior citizens and prioritize their safety. But, with so many people seeking elderly care, things become challenging at times.
The most viable option for ensuring the quality of medical care is leveraging emerging technologies to their fullest potential. Telemedicine solutions are one of the best picks for improving elderly care in nursing homes. . Today, healthcare app developers are devising transformative telemedicine solutions for the healthcare industry.This blog discusses in detail the implementation of Telemedicine solutions in nursing homes and the benefits associated with such solutions.
What is Telemedicine in Healthcare?
Telemedicine in healthcare refers to the practice of practically implementing healthcare services using telecommunications technologies for serving purposes like diagnostic care and clinical intervention.
This includes remote doctor consultations via online communication channels like video conferencing, telehealth services, etc. Individuals using telemedicine services can avail of doctor consultations that are not location-specific. This helps in resolving certain inherent issues of the healthcare sector such as overcrowding in hospitals and clinics. Also, this approach provides flexibility to patients as well as medical professionals.
Telemedicine in Nursing Homes: Implementation & Benefits
Provide Elevated Experiences to Care Home Residents
As the demand for elderly healthcare services continues to skyrocket, individuals have to bear hassles like long waiting lists to get into certain nursing homes. Problems continue even after people manage to occupy a bed in nursing homes. When residents start living in a care home, many of them find it difficult to adjust to a different environment and the new co-residents & caregiving staff. Most often, people miss their family members and their home environment. Also, residents need to follow a new set of regulations and care regime at the care facility. This might turn out to be troublesome for some seniors. Such scenarios can be difficult for residents and be a cause of worry for their loved ones; resulting in anxiety and depression.
The good news is that Telemedicine implementation in nursing homes can resolve this issue. Telemedicine solutions can help seniors familiarize themselves with the surrounding environment and staff of a nursing home through videos before they enter the facility in person. Moreover, the videoconferencing facility allows the elderly to stay connected with their loved ones and family members after they move to the care home. This way, the transition phase and adjustment process become effortless, leading to lesser anxiety.
Reduce travel time to Appointments
One of the greatest advantages of telemedicine in nursing homes is that it helps minimize the time taken by a nursing home resident to book and attend to healthcare-related appointments. Residents at a nursing home typically have multiple weekly appointments. Some examples include appointments with a practitioner, dentist, therapist, physio, or other specialists. Without telemedicine technology, a care home person has to drive the residents to the site for such appointments and wait for them during the appointment. This is time-consuming for both the resident and the care home staff.
Telemedicine services allow residents to book appointments directly using a healthcare app or through the medical facility’s software solution. Thereafter, the concerned doctor connects with the resident via video chat. Mostly, care facilities seek help from a third-party provider who can fulfill the terms and conditions of the doctor’s appointment. This considerably reduces the waiting time and wasted trips for nursing home residents and staff.
Allow sick Residents to remain in their Familiar Surroundings
Nursing homes meant for older adults who need assistance are specifically designed keeping the residents’ needs in mind. Such facilities usually provide a home-like feel to the elderly. The infrastructure is user-friendly with all necessary medical arrangements. Care facilities also provide trained staff who care for people. Hence, nursing home residents feel quite comfortable in that environment. But, adjustability issues arise, if the residents have to be shifted to a healthcare facility for treating serious medical conditions.
Telemedicine implementation allows nursing homes to deliver primary medical care. With the help of telemedicine services, facilities can also arrange for medical treatment from external providers on their premises itself. As such, residents can continue to spend time in their familiar room or area and receive healthcare from the desired external healthcare service provider. Being able to be there in their familiar surroundings is comforting for most residents.
Address the Challenge of Staff Shortages
Nursing home administration also benefits from the Telemedicine in healthcare approach. The challenge of staff shortages in care facilities is quite common. Care-providing facilities with telemedicine can widen their reach for finding suitable care-providing staff. With access to a wider pool of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, there is more likely someone available to help whenever needed. Hence, the problem of staff shortages can be effectively dealt with without much ado.
Provide Decentralized Medical Care
Residents of nursing homes have to invest a lot of time in traveling to another facility to receive a procedure or treatment. But, a telemedicine mobile app enables them to access doctors and other healthcare professionals in real time. This way, residents get treatments and prescriptions faster than expected. This approach is particularly beneficial when residents need urgent care or require to be reassessed for a new treatment plan.
The telemedicine platform saves the time of nursing home residents as they do not have to worry about traveling across to different healthcare facilities for receiving various kinds of treatments. This arrangement also reduces the residents’ dependence on the care facility staff. A telemedicine platform not only decentralizes care but also improves the overall efficiency of the nursing home.
Improve communication between Patients and Caregivers
Several residents staying in nursing homes and assisted living facilities have some degree of disability. These disabilities can range from being entirely ambulatory to having intellectual disabilities or dementia. The remaining residents require some level of day-to-day assistance for carrying out daily activities like dressing up, eating food, and following restroom routines. Here, communication issues may crop up and can reduce the quality of care.
Telemedicine solutions facilitate improved real-time communication between caregivers and care home residents through remote monitoring devices like wearable integration. Care facility professionals can also leverage telemedicine apps to design customized electronic care plans for every resident. These plans can be updated in real-time. With, such electronic plans, caregivers can instantly get information about the care needs of a resident and act promptly to address the need.
Minimize the risk of Exposure to Infections
One of the greatest concerns people come across while visiting a nursing home is the risk of contracting infectious diseases. And, as several residents are there in the facility for extended periods, the risk of infection runs higher. Disease-causing germs may enter the facility’s premises through visitors or any other medium. Additionally, visitors may get infected with viruses from the care home residents as they interact with them.
So, having an arrangement where family members would visit their loved ones via telemedicine communication channels, is a viable option to consider. This arrangement also allows residents to avail of virtual doctor consultations for minor ailments and follow-ups ensuring minimal in-person contact. Doctors can also carry out physical exams and send medical tests & imaging reports via telemedicine apps. And, the best part is that the telemedicine approach yields similar outcomes to in-person visits.
Remotely Monitor Chronic Conditions
The population of older adults with chronic conditions is rapidly rising. Hence, it’s important for caregivers to closely monitor patients for detecting the symptoms early and provide timely medical assistance. Many nursing homes have the “nurse to patient” ratios set by law. Hence, it becomes difficult for nurses to spend enough time with every individual patient to ensure that their needs are met. And, if the needs of certain individuals go unnoticed it can lead to dangerous repercussions and even life-threatening conditions may arise in some cases.
Remote monitoring of patients, a great feature offered by several telemedicine applications, is the perfect solution to resolve this challenge. Patients can be monitored regularly via wearables leading to improved care without any chances of misses. Care providers will at once come to know in case of medical emergencies and be able to respond timely. This is very important as older adults often have several health issues which need to be addressed holistically to improve their quality of life. Telemedicine proves beneficial for the nursing home healthcare staff as well. Nurses can identify the symptoms accurately while delivering care. Telemedicine implementation allows nursing home providers to deliver this level of care.
Telemedicine solution is a viable option for improving the quality of the lives of elderly individuals living in nursing homes. Telemedicine implementation in nursing homes and care facilities will transform the entire approach to providing care to older adults. Care home residents will enjoy better access to medical facilities and face lesser hassles. Telemedicine solutions will also improve the convenience quotient of care home residents, save their time, and improve their quality of life in nursing homes. Telemedicine also simplifies care delivery to a great extent and helps care providers offer improved services to their residents.
However, you need to pick a solution that is the best fit for your care facility. Also, telemedicine implementation should be accurate to get the best results out of the solution. But, you need not worry if you lack the necessary professional expertise. In this case, you can partner with experienced healthcare app development services to get a customized telemedicine solution and implement it flawlessly.