Improving nursing home care is vital. Missing or delayed medical care for nursing home residents has been proven to lead to poor outcomes, and we need to find a better way to serve this vulnerable population. Nursing homes need telemedicine now more than ever. More than 10% of patients admitted to a skilled nursing facility for post-acute care never see a doctor or advanced practice nurse during their stay.
Telemedicine enables all nursing homes to provide in-house medical care. Telehealth augments on-site clinical staff for continuous care. Telemedicine is even scalable for small or rural facilities that don’t have the bandwidth to employ onsite clinical staff. The median nursing home stay for post-acute patients who never see a physician is 11 days. Telemedicine eliminates this issue, saving lives.
Patients who don’t see a doctor during their stay are more vulnerable to consequences. Post-acute nursing home patients who don’t see a physician or advanced practice nurse are two times more likely to be readmitted to the hospital or die within 30 days of their visit. Without a doctor visit, 28% of patients are rehospitalized and 14% pass within 30 days. A checkup with a doctor reduces those numbers to 14% and 7%, respectively.
Not only does not see a doctor harm residents but also delayed medical care can lead to equally devastating consequences. Early detection is the key in many cases. Many health problems can be treated in the nursing home if detected early. This goes for acute conditions such as severe dehydration, urinary tract infections, and pneumonia, as well as congestive heart failure, asthma, uncontrolled diabetes, and COPD. Advanced practice nurses help facilities manage health issues by recognizing signs of infection and improving the recognition skills of other staff members.
Vital sign monitoring is an essential part of nursing homes
Manually taking vital signs usually takes about 4 minutes and documenting those readings can take an additional 12. In addition to being time-consuming, manual vital sign monitoring can lead to errors. Multiplication errors, delayed documentation, illegible handwriting, and data entry errors all pose a threat to patient health.
Automated monitors through telehealth cut the whole process down to less than a minute and eliminate the risk of human error. Readings are more consistent over time and are automatically entered into the electronic medical records, and staff is notified quickly when readings are outside of the prescribed parameters. In addition, wireless monitors allow nurses to collect and document readings in just two minutes. This gives nursing staff more time to focus on patients, and they receive more immediate interventions, reducing readmissions and improving overall patient health.
Telemedicine provides nursing home residents with bedside access to a team of specialists and behavioural health services. They use state-of-the-art technologies to improve patient outcomes. Not only do they provide vital sign monitoring, but they also offer a dedicated clinician assigned to every facility, 24/7 care, and an on-site nurse practitioner to work with their team of trained professionals. Their care means conditions can be treated early, preventing rehospitalization and improving outcomes. It also means that the service can act as a kind of Simple Online Pharmacy, so if someone just needs some meds then this can be arranged and dealt with as necessary.
Learn more on how telemedicine is changing the game for patient care in the infographic below: