The number of people aged 60 years or older is expected to increase from the 605 million in 2000 to 2 billion by the year 2050.
The number senior citizens in need of medical assistance in the US only continues to grow and is causing a strain on home care, senior living, skilled nursing, and long term care centers.
Telehealth video calling is helping to address the needs for post-acute or non-emergent care delivered at in-home settings. Caregivers are able to connect their patients or clients with their providers directly from their homes, helping to facilitate chronic care management, medication adherence, physical therapy, and a variety of other healthcare services.
To support the success of telehealth video programs for the aging or those with physical limitations, here are some helpful steps.
When designing your program, take family and providers into consideration when having conversations about care coordination and chronic condition management. Identify all the correct contacts to include or give access to the video calling tool, especially beneficial in moments of urgent need. Giving these users access to video calling will aid in developing more cohesive and inclusive care plans.
Keep your providers, caregivers, patients and family members or emergency contacts in mind when picking the software/application. Simplify the technology - making sure the software is compatible with multiple devices, intuitive, and easy to initiate for all users.
Along with identifying the patient’s needs, mobility and resource limitations should also be kept in mind when establishing the service offering. Telehealth video programs should be built around the ability of patients to participate in specific activities. Caregivers and patients may need additional equipment to perform specific therapies or medical tests.
Factor in the frequency of communication needed with your patients when determining the proper telehealth video tools. Softwares used should be able to support scheduled and ad-hoc communications without limitations, especially in the event of emergencies.
As a bonus, because interaction is limited for homebound patients, perhaps consider a tool that allows patients to easily communicate with loved ones, to provide a sense of support and comfort.
With thoughtful policies and implementation, not only does telehealth video help increase access to care for patients, but it also helps providers to feel more supported and confident when delivering care in the field.