Seniors in the western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh area are getting to know first-hand the benefits of telemedicine through the use of health-monitoring devices that look like a regular sports watch.
An article on CNBC.com explains that Lutheran SeniorLife is a faith-based, nonprofit organization in Pennsylvania that runs senior living communities. About 2 years ago, they started to use a system called the MobileCare Monitor with the more frail residents of their senior living communities. If the resident falls, the monitor sends a text message to the smartphone of a nurse’s aide as well as sending an alert to a Web-based system called a CareStation. Within the first day of use, the monitor alerted a nurse that a resident who was recently moved from a nursing home to a low-income senior housing center had fallen out of bed.
Since using the monitoring system, the percent of residents that Lutheran SeniorLife has had to move into nursing homes has been reduced from 20 percent to 12 percent. According to the article, about 40 of the 500 residents who are enrolled in the program use the monitoring device so that they can stay out of the nursing home. Although there are charges associated with using the monitor, Lutheran SeniorLife administrators say the costs are much less than having to move someone into a nursing home.
According to the article, these monitors can also vital signs, glucose levels, and blood pressure measurements. They can alert caregivers if a patient with dementia is wandering outside of a facility. As the use of telemedicine and these types of monitors increase in the future, they can help nursing home staff provide even more detailed and personal care. And they can provide family members peace of mind that their loved one is being taken care of with the most up-to-date technology.